New Venue Project ready for next year’s Dirt N Dust

SHIP SHAPE: Mayor Belinda Murphy (second right), Council and Dirt N Dust staff check out the new Venue Project at Dirt N Dust. Photo: supplied
SHIP SHAPE: Mayor Belinda Murphy (second right), Council and Dirt N Dust staff check out the new Venue Project at Dirt N Dust. Photo: supplied

In March 2017 the McKinlay Shire Council approached the committee of the Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival with a question – what would they like to see for the future of the Festival?

Now that question has been answered as the finishing touches go on a new Venue Project at Dirt n Dust Central.

As with so many events in the tourism industry, the Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival was facing an ever growing volunteer-burnout problem.

The three-day event takes an army of community volunteers and workers to work around the clock setting up temporary infrastructure, including tents, marquees and electrical work.

When approached by the Council, the Dirt n Dust Committee jumped at the chance to build a legacy project, not only for the Festival but also for the town and region.

The committee were given the chance to look to the future and got to work putting their dreams together on one piece of paper.

In the months that followed a plan for a two-storey shell was created, as the two groups worked together to create a project that had room for future growth.

The Council were able to acquire the funding needed through a Works for Queensland Grant, a state driven fund that supports regional councils to undertake job-creating maintenance and infrastructure projects.

The shell itself includes a bar and merchandise windows, shade, open-plan floors, infrastructure for a future second storey and all the fittings and plumbing for future expansions.

The construction was undertaken by Auzscot Constructions, a continual supporter of Dirt n Dust.

“The vision was to put down everything we wanted looking forward 10 years, 20 years into the future and to build a structure that could accommodate that future growth,” says Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Committee President Stephen Malone.

“We’re incredibly happy with what we’ve gotten here and there is so much potential for growth and also for other community groups to come in and benefit from it too. We wanted to build something that could be used by all community groups 365 days a year.”

The key motivation for the Dirt n Dust Festival has always been to give back to the community of Julia Creek and Mr Malone said this legacy project ticks that box.

The Festival has had similar projects that have community benefits at the forefront, including acquiring grant funding for the purchase of toilets and showers now being moved to McIntyre Park camping grounds to be used by more community groups and to attract schools and larger travelling crowds to camp there.

The Venue is now almost complete and will be up and running in plenty of time for next year’s event.

The Committee and their volunteers say they are all looking forward to the help this venue will give to future events.

“We’re very excited going forward into next year’s event,” Mr Malone said.

“We are incredibly grateful to our Council for supporting our event and for supporting this project, it couldn’t have happened without them.”