The Birdsville Races have issued a nationwide callout for volunteers to help stage the 140th-anniversary edition of the iconic outback event, set to run September 2 and 3. Billed the Melbourne Cup of the Outback, the Birdsville Races started as a humble bush meet in 1882.
Since then, they have become a bucket-list experience for intrepid travellers, racing enthusiasts, grey nomads and culture vultures alike.
The tiny township of Birdsville on the edge of Queensland’s Simpson Desert swells from a general population of around 115 to more than 6000 visitors for a two-day, 13-race program, along with a stacked line-up of film and live music, cocktail parties and Fred Brophy’s famous travelling boxing troupe.
Birdsville Races Vice President, Gary Brook said this September’s Races would be particularly special given the 140-year celebrations and give volunteers an opportunity to experience the carnival through a unique historical lens.
“This September, to celebrate 140 years since the Birdsville Races began, we will be welcoming many longtime friends, plus some of the carnival’s greatest jockeys, trainers, characters and facing families back into town for a ripper celebration of old meets new,” Mr Brook said.
“We will also be hosting some special presentations and events to commemorate the history of the Birdsville Races and how far we’ve come over 140 years.
“If there was ever a time to tick the Birdsville Races off your bucket list, it is this September.”
Each year, the Races hold a charity fun run to raise funds for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS).
They also host the annual RFDS Birdsville Races Gala, giving punters a unique opportunity to dress up and experience outback hospitality and live entertainment in style while participating in an RFDS charity auction.
Operating for more than 90 years, the RFDS is a vital not-for-profit organisation providing medical help to remote areas often cut off from medical services, as well as inter-hospital transfer services between metropolitan areas.
The RFDS has supplied medical services to Birdsville for many decades, providing regular GP visits to the town, emergency services and operating a GP clinic during the race weekend.
“The RFDS does so much to help not only Birdsville but countless other outback communities, so it feels great to be able to show our thanks and collect donations throughout the Birdsville Races,” Mr Brook said.
“Speaking to volunteers, we know the fundraising element is something they find extremely rewarding, and that keeps many coming back eat year to lend a hand.”
Volunteer registrations are live now at www.birdsvilleraces.com/Volunteer.
All volunteers must be 18 or older and will receive a complimentary two-day racing pass, granting them access to all of the exhilarating action at Birdsville’s iconic dirt racetrack, from punting to partying to Fashions on the Field, as a thank you.
They will also receive an exclusive souvenir volunteer polo shirt, limited-edition souvenir medallion, stubby holder and cap.
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