Regional centres swell
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.