Caravans rolled in by the hundred for last weekend’s 2017 Boggabri Drovers’ Campfire.
Travellers from across the country made the annual pilgrimage to Boggabri to catch up with old friends and share in the warm country hospitality this multi-award-winning event offered.
Cliff and Phyll Bird knew the town better than most having spent 60 years living, working and raising a family in Boggabri.
Now happily retired in Tamworth, they said the event which has run for more than a decade, is vital for local tourism and business.
“It has virtually put Boggabri on the map,” Mr Bird said.
“Grey nomads have spread the word.”
First-time campfire visitors Paul and Kerrie Hainey from Belmont in Newcastle arrived early in the week after a tip-off from friends and wasted little time taking in the Boggabri township – from Anzac Day commemorations to CWA morning tea and even a spot of trivia.
Campfire patron and co-ordinator Geoff Eather said they hosted their first visitors more than a week before the event’s official start.
“Most regulars book but I suspect we may get a few who just turn up this year,” Mr Eather said last week.
On Thursday morning, he saw off two of 14 day trips – a self-drive four-wheel drive tour of Willala Farm and Santos Pilliga tour – being co-ordinated by the event’s loyal band of volunteers.
Maria Grebert was one of them. This was her second year in the volunteer role after a permanent move to Boggabri from the Central Coast.
“It’s such a great town and great people,” Ms Grebert said.
She credited much of the hard work to co-ordinator Anita Maunder who said they had 130 campers through the gate by early Thursday and expected numbers to peak at 300 on Saturday.
Ms Maunder said the campfire relied on community support with about 30 local groups, the majority from Boggabri, helping to keep the show running smoothly every year.
Tempting tastebuds was the local school’s P&C canteen which specialised in hot basked potatoes.