Outback cricket raises funds
OUTBACK road transport companies and truckies often come to the fore when supporting vital charities such as the Royal Flying Doctor Service and Angel Flight, which both save many lives.
Upsan Downs Livestock Transport and Tropics Petroleum are two such companies.
They support Australia’s most unique cricket carnival – the Reedybrook Ashes, from which money raised goes to the RFDS, Angel Flight and local clinics.
The 36th carnival will be held on September 22 and 23 at remote Reedybrook Station, which is 40km off the Kennedy Development Road in North Queensland.
Twelve teams will battle it out on three concrete pitches at the cow fattening section of the property and visiting players and supporters will camp out near the freshwater reaches of the mighty Burdekin River.
Teams and players travel from as far away as Weipa, Townsville, Cairns, the Atherton Tablelands, Mt Garnet, Greenvale, and even Brisbane.
Cow pats and deadly snakes are some of the obstacles competitors will face.
Mark Olditch and his wife Raeleen own Upsan Downs Livestock Transport and have a Kenworth T904 powered by a 550hp C-15 motor and with an 18-speed Roadranger gearbox.
Raeleen is on the carnival organising committee and Mark is a player.
Upsan Downs Livestock Transport will sponsor a new team called Basalt Ball Temperers.
“We have only been operating for just under two years in the Greenvale area and technically it is the first year our business has been involved, even though I have been on the committee for quite a while now,” Raeleen said.
“We are only a very small business with the one prime mover and six decks.
“Another trucking business involved is Tropic Petroleum, which has been a major sponsor of the auction for many years.”
Last year $25,000 was donated between the RFDS, Angel Flight and local RFDS clinics from the carnival fundraising.
Participants will sleep in swags and money is raised from a calcutta, auctions, catch the pig, toad races, a kids fishing competition, raffles, cake stalls and live music at night.
There will also be a licensed bar operating and many catch-ups with friends not seen since the last carnival.
Kids and adults enjoy great swimming and fishing in the Burdekin, which has seen many sooty grunter and bream caught in past years.
For decades the carnival was run by Reedybrook Station owners George and Joan Harriman.
“They are still involved and will be there helping out again,” Raeleen said.
George has been one of the prime movers behind the Gumflats XI team after which the cricketing ground is named.
Angel Flight’s chief executive officer Marjorie Pagani said it assisted rural families from all over Australia to access city-based medical treatment, and more recently has assisted in transporting people to Townsville after the tragic Ravenshoe fire.
“More than 85 per cent of donated funds go directly to flight co-ordination and aircraft fuel – so the funds raised by the carnival will have a real and significant impact on our rural friends in need, providing many more free flights to town and home again, for much-needed treatment,” she said.
The RFDS employs more than 400 people in Queensland with positions including pilots, doctors, nurses, engineers, allied health professionals, and a variety of administration and support services roles including finance, marketing and human resources.
With its Queensland head office located at the Brisbane Airport, the RFDS operates 19 aircraft from nine operational bases in Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton, Bundaberg, Charleville, Mount Isa, Longreach and Roma.
Next January many of the players will travel to Charters Towers to compete in the Goldfield Ashes Cricket Carnival.
This is regarded as the biggest cricket carnival in the southern hemisphere and will have more than 220 teams.
CARNIVAL ORGANISERS: Mark Olditch and his wife Raeleen near their Kenworth.
Action at a previous Reedybrook Ashes between the Misfits XI and Tropical Cowboys with cattle in the background.
Some of the players and supporters at a previous Reedybrook Ashes event.