25 January 2023

Return of major traditional event invites everyone Back to the Flat

| Claire Fenwicke
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Following the Black Summer bushfires and restrictions of the COVID pandemic, the Back to the Flat organising committee wants to welcome everyone to Captains Flat. Photo: Anita King.

A major community event has been missing from Captains Flat’s annual calendar for the past decade.

But thanks to the efforts of a group of local volunteers, the event has been reinvigorated to bring everyone Back to the Flat.

The event has been around since 1981, but hasn’t been organised for several years.

Committee member Anita King has been part of the Captains Flat community for the past 25 years and was keen to remind people about the village tucked off the Kings Highway.

“We sometimes feel like we’re a little lost town in the scheme of things,” she said.

“Even a lot of people in Canberra have never been to Captains Flat. They might have seen the sign to us as they drive down to the coast, but they never come in.”

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The Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council helped the committee apply for a State Government grant, which has helped make the event a reality once more.

But Mayor Kenrick Winchester said all praise for the event coming back to life should go to the organising committee.

“This event was made possible through the hard work of the Captains Flat community,” he said.

“The very passionate event committee have secured sponsorship from a range of local businesses as well as $15,000 from the NSW Government to bring their dream to life.”

Free camping is being provided on site, with activities for both grown-ups and kids.

This includes the Mabbott Wheelbarrow Race, which pays tribute to publican William Mabbott.

He was wheelbarrowed from his old pub to the new one when the licence was transferred on 28 February, 1939.

Back to the Flat will also feature live music, kids’ entertainment, face painting, food stalls, markets, sheep-shearing and woodchopping displays, along with a small car and stationary engine display.

Anita said a new over-18s event was also being introduced.

“We’ll have an old-fashioned, adults-only knockout event, where people will go through a few different obstacles,” she said.

“You need a team of four adults, and there will also be prizes.”

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Anita said a large crowd was expected for the event.

“We haven’t done anything like this out here for several years because of COVID and the bushfires, so it’s great to be bringing something back,” she said.

“It’s important to us that we bring people out and show them who we are and what we’re all about.”

Back to the Flat will be held on 4 March, 2023, on Foxlow Street. Camping spots need to be secured by 24 February by emailing [email protected]. No caravans will be permitted as space is limited. Accommodation is also available at The Captains Flat Hotel.

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