Ed Petrie

All Under The Place, 23 August, Camooweal

The main reason for being here in the middle of nowhere was a 2 hour drive away from our hotel in Mount Isa – the Drovers Festival in Camooweal. Drovers are the Australian answer to cowboys, and we actually saw some on our way there – 2 men and 2 women on a mixture of horses and motorbikes herding a large number of cattle down the dusty verge of the road.

In the morning we learnt how to crack a whip and recite bush poetry, and generally got stared at by the elderly drovers who seemed to make up most of the festival goers. Droving is dying out for various reasons, and there was a lot of reminiscing going on around us about the good old days.

Come afternoon we headed into town – basically a pub and small collection of single storey houses – for the Mail Race. Competitors double up and pull a cart with another person down the road, pick up an extra passenger at the other end of town and then run back to the pub in the middle. What’s fiendish about this set up is that you gain twice as much weight in your cart at the end, just when you don’t want it. It was an absolute killer, and as I saw Johny and his team mate pulling ahead in the final stretch I just gave up as my lungs felt like they were about to burst. Johny and I then spent half an hour having what appeared to be an asthma attack, not something either of us usually get. It was nice for Johny to win though, as he’d been on a bit of a losing streak and his time filming with us is nearly up 🙁

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