A spectacular cavalcade of draught horse, camel, bullock and donkey teams will head off from Barellan, in the Riverina, for an eight day drive to celebrate the draught teams which built the nation.
Aside from bringing Australia’s pioneering heritage to life, the Tribute to the Teams Drive on September 22-29 will also raise funds for Motor Neurone Disease research and awareness.
Some of the most experienced teamsters in the country are heading the drive and a limited number of people will be allowed to experience the campfires, swags, bush tucker and yarns. Participants can either spend a couple of days or an entire week with the wagons.
The Tribute to the Teams Drive will leave Barellan showground on Sunday, September 22, and travel around 100km following the old stock routes.
The first stop will be Moombooldool, then on to Kamarah, Ardlethan, the former site of Mrs Hilton’s Inn, several private properties and return to Barellan showground on Sunday, September 29.
Central Australian cameleer and founding father of the Alice Springs Camel Cup, Chris Hill, will bring a camel team and drive alongside master horseman Bruce Bandy, of Barellan, with his eight horse team.
They will be joined by Shane Keir, of Canberra, with a horse team, Colin Bandy, Barellan, with a two horse team, Allison Prentice, Barellan, with a three horse team, Paul Bandy, Sydney, with a two horse team, and a bullock team of 12 driven by Phil Thompson, Numinbah Valley, Queensland. Rod Sansom, of Newcastle, will also be on the drive with his donkey and camel teams, plus Steve and Jan Johnson, Lake Cargellico, with a team of eight horses.
Previous Tribute to the Teams Drives have involved horse and bullock teams and were held to Yenda and Kamarah, raising several thousand dollars for MND.
Drive co-ordinator Bruce Bandy said this was the first time the drive would accommodate paying passengers.
“This may be a one-off opportunity for people to join one of the most unique drives ever seen in modern times around the nation,” Mr Bandy said. “In the past, we have been on smaller drives with the horse teams to increase the horse’s fitness for taking part in the Good Old Days Festival.
“We will be following the stock routes away from the main roads, sleep under the stars and eat our meals around a campfire.
“On the third night we will enjoy a meal at the Ardlethan Bowling Club and on the sixth night a barbecue will be put on by Barellan farmer Tony Flagg.
“Day six will include a lunch at the historic shearing shed on Moobooldool Station.
“Other than that, all meals are provided and passengers just need to bring their own swag or tent, fold up chair and a cushion.
“The drive will be at slow pace allowing everyone to experience the beauty of the landscape and natural environment, and escape the pressures of modern life for a while.”
West Wyalong businessman Bernie Kearins and a day rider on the Tribute to the Teams has donated an Akubra hat for auction to raise funds for MND.
The cost is $960 for the full eight days or $120 a day and for more details contact Bruce Bandy on 0427 630 188.