Re­gional cen­tres swell

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - BY DEAN LAW­SON

War­rackn­abeal dis­trict res­i­dents will turn their at­ten­tion to 150th birthday cel­e­bra­tions later this year af­ter thou­sands of peo­ple gath­ered for the north­ern Wim­mera cen­tre’s an­nual Easter Yfest.

Yfest, grow­ing in sig­nif­i­cance as a ma­jor re­gional at­trac­tion, was a launch­ing pad this year for a milestone com­mu­nity party planned for June 9 and 10.

The four-day Yfest, in­volv­ing a vast ar­ray of ac­tiv­i­ties, at­trac­tions, mu­si­cal per­for­mances, sport­ing events and a pa­rade down Scott Street, swells the War­rackn­abeal pop­u­la­tion by up to 5000, and this year was no ex­cep­tion.

The fes­ti­val in­cluded a 50-year milestone for a Wheat­lands An­nual Vin­tage Rally and Par­lia­men­tary Sec­re­tary for Re­gional Vic­to­ria Daniel Green was among guests.

Ms Green used the oc­ca­sion to of­fi­cially open $210,000 in up­grades to Wheat­lands Agri­cul­tural Ma­chin­ery Mu­seum, home to the largest col­lec­tion of his­tor­i­cal ma­chin­ery in Aus­tralia.

The State Govern­ment pro­vided a $100,000 grant when fast-track­ing projects iden­ti­fied in a 2015 $27-mil­lion Drought Sup­port Pack­age. “The Wheat­lands Agri­cul­tural Ma­chin­ery Mu­seum of­fers a unique, his­tor­i­cal per­spec­tive of our agri­cul­tural in­dus­try,” Ms Green said.

Other Wim­mera-mallee lo­cal­i­ties were also abuzz with peo­ple liv­ing along the Yar­ri­ambi­ack Silo Arts Trail re­port­ing a con­stant stream of vis­i­tors trav­el­ling from north and south to view gi­ant mu­rals on grain si­los from Ru­pa­nyup in the south to Sheep Hills, Brim and Patchewol­lock.

Jeparit was also busy with al­most 450 an­glers lin­ing the banks of the Wim­mera River for an an­nual and con­sis­tently grow­ing Easter fish­ing com­pe­ti­tion.

Or­gan­is­ers re­ported a big catch of fish in a stretch of river many thought years ago would never re­cover from drought and salin­ity.

Jeparit An­glers Club’s Rick Day said adult en­tries were up, as was the num­ber of fish caught.

“We had a heap of yel­low­belly come in and it was quite a suc­cess. We will de­brief in a cou­ple of weeks and start plan­ning for next year,” he said.

Rus­sell Os­borne of Hor­sham won the open sec­tion with a 3.851-kilo­gram yel­low­belly and Rhys Dick­er­son, also of Hor­sham, won a ju­nior sec­tion with a 1.928kg spec­i­men. Al­most all of the top 10 se­nior fish weighed in at more than two kilo­grams. The con­di­tion of the fish, topend preda­tors, pointed to a healthy aquatic en­vi­ron­ment.

The con­test, which raises money for Jeparit com­mu­nity projects as well as the Good Fri­day Ap­peal, of­fered $10,000 in prizes and at­tracted a broad cross-sec­tion of peo­ple from across Vic­to­ria and in­ter­state.

Fur­ther south on the edge of the Grampians, Great Western helped kick off a big week­end of Easter events across the re­gion with its an­nual rodeo.

About 4000 peo­ple gath­ered at the wine vil­lage-turned-ac­tion cen­tre to soak up the ex­cite­ment of the day, or­gan­ised by Great Western Foot­ball and Net­ball Club.

As part of a big Easter in and around the Grampians, Dane Smith’s Mu­jadale won the Stawell Gold Cup dur­ing Stawell’s big Sun­day race meet­ing.

Mu­jadale, with Jack Hill in the saddle, won by half a length.

Satur­day’s War­rackn­abeal Cup, part of the Yfest week­end, went to Matt Cu­mani’s seven-year-old geld­ing War Story, which won by 2.8 lengths.

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