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 at Barellan in southern NSW on September 30-October 1.
The Festival is the nation’s largest gathering of draught animals working in harness as they did on Australian farms over a century ago.
The Barellan Working Clydesdales committee is putting together a full program of authentic heritage events, a Furphy Festival, camp oven dinner under the stars with entertainment by country band, The Silverline, a Clydie Art Trail and three-day glamping packages.
Visitors will be able to see horse, bullock, camel, donkey, mules and goats in harness, an Australian Light Horse display, camel races, blade shearing, butter churning, natural horsemanship display, working dogs, whip cracking, blacksmith, bullock cueing (shoeing), log snigging, ploughing, Furphy rebarelling, rope turning, sheaf tossing, wagon rides, old fashioned children’s games, a native bird display, bush poetry, scone making, market stalls and the grand parade.
Barellan Working Clydesdale Committee member Bruce Bandy, and Aleks Berzins, of Exeter, will drive a team of over 20 heavy horses pulling a wool wagon around the arena.
They will be joined in the arena by cameleer Rod Sansom, Salt Ash, NSW, bullockies Ron McKinnon, and Darcy Quinn, Nowra, NSW, and their teams, a donkey team driven by Emily Parrott, 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 over 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 highlight this year will be the Perpetual Teamsters Trophy presented by Tim Peel, Borambola, NSW, being a model of a Bennett wagon crafted by Allan Langfield, Wagga Wagga. 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.
This year the bullock teams will compete for the trophy. A new addition 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.
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. 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,” Mr Peel said.
“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 popular new additions to the program last year will be back – 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 which will see the most experienced teamsters in the country assemble at Barellan to showcase horses, camels, donkeys, mules, and goats hauling wagons, binders, headers, ploughs, carts, buggies, sleds, sulkies and a mallee roller.
“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 over 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.”
The major sponsors for 2023 are QPL Rural-McGrath Riverina, AGnVET Rural and Helloworld Cootamundra.
Tickets for admission, camping, camp oven dinner, and glamping packages can be booked online at www.barellanclydesdales.com.au