A swimwear calendar in the bush in the mid­dle of a drought? Great idea! This sewing group wanted in

The Northern Star - Northern New South Wales Rural Weekly - - FRONT PAGE - Jack Mor­phet news@ru­ral­

AT THE grand old age of 88, Pat Re­gan thought her chances of swim­suit mod­el­ling were done but, thanks to the drought, they were cer­tainly not dusted.

Wear­ing noth­ing but swim­mers, work boots, wide-brimmed hats and a smile, the oc­to­ge­nar­ian and fel­low mem­bers of the Carinda sewing group in far north­west NSW have posed in dried-up riverbeds and shear­ing sheds for a drought re­lief calendar.

“I didn’t think I’d be seen in a swim­suit at 88, which must mean I can be talked into nearly any­thing,” Mrs Re­gan said.

“We had plenty of laughs at the photo shoot but I doubt I have a ca­reer in mod­el­ling ahead of me... not at my age.”

De­scribed as the ma­tri­arch of Carinda, a small town an hour’s drive south­west of Wal­gett, Mrs Re­gan can barely re­mem­ber a worse drought.

“We had a shock­ing, great big dust storm this week, the likes of which I haven’t seen since the olden days – at least not since 1965,” she said.

The amount of rain­fall reg­is­tered in the past 18 months across large swathes of prime farm­ing land, in­clud­ing the far north­west, ranks in the low­est

10 per cent on record, ac­cord­ing to the Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy.

“Much of the North­west Plains, around Carinda and Wal­gett, are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing their dri­est 18-month pe­riod since records be­gan in 1900,” Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy cli­ma­tol­o­gist Si­mon Grainger said.

The Beach to Bush calendar was launched at Wal­gett last week, with pro­ceeds to go to farm­ing char­ity Drought An­gels and the Coun­try Women’s As­so­ci­a­tion of NSW.

The racy photo shoot was a chance for many of the women, in­clud­ing the calendar pho­tog­ra­pher Sue Cur­rey, to have a break from their farms, where many of them are feed­ing starv­ing cat­tle ev­ery day.

There’s not a green blade of grass on the 6000-acre crop­ping, cat­tle and cot­ton farm Mar­ion Saun­ders, 55, and her hus­band Peter man­age at Corinda, where the din­ing room be­came the photo shoot green room.

“My hus­band got quite the shock when he walked in off the farm to see 15 women try­ing swim­mers and get­ting

❝think I didn’t I’d be seen in a swim­suit at 88, which must mean I can be talked into nearly any­thing.

— Pat Re­gan

spray tans,” Mrs Saun­ders said.

Swimwear and re­sort wear brand Se­quins and Sands do­nated the gar­ments to fundraise for drought re­lief and pro­mote pos­i­tive re­in­force­ment around body im­age, which is some­thing Mrs Saun­ders has strug­gled with.

“I would al­ways have a towel around me while I watched the chil­dren play in the wa­ter and never ac­tively par­tic­i­pated,” she said.

“Now I have my first grand­child, I don’t want to miss a minute, and life is bet­ter when you’re not wor­ried what you look like.”

The calendar was launched at a drought-af­fected prop­erty called Wonga, near Wal­gett, where women from the area were shouted beauty treat­ments, hair­cuts and mas­sages.


The Beach to Bush Calendar was launched at Wonga, out­side Wal­gett, in coun­try NSW.


UP THE CREEK: The Beach to Bush Calendar, which launched at Wonga, out­side Wal­gett in coun­try NSW, on the week­end featured Pat Re­gan, who holds out for rain in a dried-up riverbed.

Pat Re­gan, 88, as she ap­pears Wait­ing for Rain in the Beach to Bush calendar.

Mar­ion Saun­ders, Loretta Robin­son, Rachel Lamph, Libby Ca­ton, Jude Mas­man, Lynette McManus, Jas­mine Saun­ders, Pat Re­gan and Toni Garnsey.

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