The nation’s largest gathering of draught animals working in harness is coming to Narrandera Shire.
Bullockies from around Australia will compete for the prestigious Teamsters Trophy while goats in harness will vie for the inaugural Little Teamsters Trophy at the 2023 Good Old Days Festival in Barellan on 30 September and 1 October.
Visitors will be able to see horses, bullocks, camels, donkeys, mules and goats in harness, an Australian Light Horse display, camel races, blade shearing, butter churning, a natural horsemanship display, working dogs, whip cracking, blacksmithing, bullock cueing (shoeing), log snigging, ploughing, Furphy re-barrelling, rope turning, sheaf tossing, and a native bird display. They will also be able to take part in wagon rides and old-fashioned children’s games, hear bush poetry, and attend market stalls and the grand parade.
A highlight this year will be the Perpetual Teamsters Trophy presented by Borambola’s Tim Peel, with a model of a Bennett wagon crafted by Wagga’s Allan Langfield to be awarded to the winner.
Judged by Fred Broso and Ian Dahlenburg, the trophy is awarded on a rotational basis to a different species of draught animal each year and acknowledges their contribution to the building of the nation.
Mr Peel said Barellan was becoming known as the teamster’s capital of Australia.
“It is the place where all the different species of draught animals such as horses, bullocks, camels, donkeys, mules and goats gather in teams to demonstrate their traditional forms of work,” he said.
“It’s the only place in the world where you will see big teams of 16 to 18 camels in harness, pulling big wagons loaded with wool.
“The Afghan cameleers used strings of camels in the outback to cart goods, but this was always done using packsaddles.
“Australians started working camels in harness in the 1880s through to the 1940s when motorised transport took over.
“During the period the camel teamsters developed and refined harness and collars unique to camels.”
The Barellan Working Clydesdales committee has put together a full program of authentic heritage events, a ‘Furphy Festival’, a camp oven dinner under the stars with entertainment by country band, The Silverline, a ‘Clydie Art Trail’ and three-day glamping packages.
Barellan Working Clydesdale Committee member Bruce Bandy, and Aleks Berzins, of Exeter, will drive a team of more than 20 heavy horses pulling a wool wagon around the arena.
They will be joined in the arena by cameleer Rod Sansom of Salt Ash, NSW, bullockies Ron McKinnon, and Darcy Quinn of Nowra, NSW, and their teams, a donkey team driven by Emily Parrott of Anna Bay, NSW, and Barellan farmer David Irvin with his vintage tractor pulling a Furphy water cart train.
The Good Old Days Festival set a single-day attendance record of more than 7000 visitors last year, with cooks churning out 1800 scones and 70 dozen pies, and people of all ages were left gobsmacked by the sight of 23 heavy horses harnessed to a fully laden wagon.
A new addition in 2023 is The Little Teamsters trophy to be competed for on a rotational basis by goat, donkey and mule teams. This year the goat teams will compete for the title. The trophies will be awarded to the winning teams on the Sunday afternoon during the grand parade.
Other popular new additions to the program last year will also be back including Meet the Teamster with bullocky Ron McKinnon and cameleer Rod Sansom, and an obstacle course for heavy horses and their handlers.
Barellan Working Clydesdales Committee secretary Fiona Kibble said the festival volunteers were excited to be planning for an event that would see the most experienced teamsters in the country assemble at Barellan.
“We are working hard to increase the visitor experience with an enhanced program to underpin what is the Narrandera Shire’s biggest tourism event,” Ms Kibble said.
“Last year we had more than 400 caravanners and campers, and successfully debuted additional onsite accommodation of glamping packages for our visitors.
“This year we look forward to welcoming visitors from all corners of the country in what is a huge economic injection for our small town and regional economy.”
You can find out more here.
Original Article published by Vanessa Hayden on Region Riverina.