DROUGHT LIFE NOT MUCH CHOP
QUILPIE in western Queensland should be the heart of sheep country, but the state’s killer drought means butcher Cameron McConnell can’t find any to turn into chops.
In a move akin to the old saying of taking coal to Newcastle, Cameron, the third generation of his family to be the town butcher, says he has to ship his lamb in from Brisbane.
He said he and his family – wife Gina and kids Chelsea, 8, Nate, 5, and little Alexis, 3 – are doing all right, but plenty were hurting.
“We’ve been struggling to source fat sheep for slaughter now for months,” Mr McConnell said.
“It always used to be sheep country,” Mrs McConnell, who helps run the family butcher shop, said. “They’ve been overrun with wild dogs and roos, who are obviously starving themselves and taking the feed. There’s just not much left for them.”
Mrs McConnell said Quilpie was getting quieter, and Mr McConnell said the killer dry was hurting the town.
More than $450,000 has been raised for the state’s struggling farmers by the Queensland Drought Appeal.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk kicked off the appeal on Thursday, with The Courier-Mail and The Sunday Mail joining forces with 7 News, the Ekka and the Queensland Country Women’s Association to launch the bid to help struggling farmers.
LAMB RARE: Cameron McConnell with wife Gina and Alexis, 3. Picture: Nigel Hallett