Farm Fest was initiated in October 2011 in the Queensland coastal regional area of the Carlisle Coast: Laguna Quays, Midge Point and Bloomsbury, highlighting all things rural with the $5 gate entry supporting the local primary school on Sunday (7 September).
The brain child of local property owner Garry Poole with his 60,000 acres which includes an air strip, six plane hangers, a lake, several sub-divisions and cattle, Farm Fest has become one of the great annual iconic events of the area.
Everyone gets involved displaying their particular rural or community "whatever" and this includes farm machinery of all descriptions and sizes, sheep, cattle. Horses, goats, poultry, farm dogs and cats, the fishing club, the SES, the bush fire people, real estate, auctions, art prize – you name it, Farm Fest has it.
Well-Being Australia has done a number of Country Town Tours in the Whitsundays area since the mid 1990s – a Country Town Tour is when an athlete or coach accompanies the team and speaks at a range of community venues such as schools, youth groups and the like.
I met Garry Poole in 2002 on one of these Country Town Tours and he hosted my wife Delma and me on a number of occasions in the Bloomsbury - Midge Point area and we developed an ongoing relationship when in 2011 I sought his wisdom regarding the purchase of a small cottage for missionary's respite at adjacent to the Laguna Quays Resort (back onto it).
Garry Poole knew the situation of the cottage and suggested we snap it up which we were able to do (very reasonably priced) and thus was initiated the Laguna Quays Respite ministry for missionaries and home-mission personnel needing a short break for respite. We'd been providing respite for the Australian Institute of Sport elite athletes since 1992 so we had some idea. (http://drmarkt.weebly.com/respite.html)
It took six months to get the cottage up to scratch for missionary visitors and in that time on our visits we had developed a number of community links and in 2013 we established the Basil Sellers $2000 Art Prize, an on-line community news sheet (when the hard copy news sheet closed its doors), then in May this year a Business luncheon, and all hosted by Neil and Kaye Brooks (The Point Tavern).
Numbers of community people came on board to support the local on-line news titled the Midge Point Bloomsbury News and Mews (www.mpbnews.org) which included Bloomsbury Rural, The Point Tavern, Whitsundays and Airles Beach Real Estate and local developer of the Carlisle Waters estate came on board the art prize in July 2014.
Another local community project Well-Being Australia was keen to develop was a community citizenship awards for local people who had given a life time to community service.
Garry Poole rang me in July drumming up support for Farm Fest 2014 and I raised the issue of these citizenship awards being part of Farm Fest, which he jumped at, and then took the idea to the school planning group who are the arms and legs of Farm Fest and they too concurred with enthusiasm.
By late July I had drafted a certificate for be taken to the school planning group and as we'll be in Canberra for this year's Farm Fest, John Lyons was to be representing Well-Being Australia and Kim Hanson the Bloomsbury editor for the mpbnews was to have been our photographer.
This illustrates how a Christian ministry with a heart for the community can engender support and energise people to be involved and there by be touched by the Lord through the many accompanying conversations and promptings by the Spirit of Christ.
Then Farm Fest was off. Insurance was one issue at $10,000 for the one day and the local school dropped out due to issues associated with other matters. Now the Citizenships Awards will be held in October at The Point Tavern.
Well-Being Australia has assisted this small area of Bloomsbury and Midge Point
- $2000 Art Prize
- on-line news
- Business luncheon
- Citizenship Awards
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at