Drovers campfire puts town on the map
The Annual Drovers Campfire event in Narrabri Shire in New South Wales proves how partnerships between Council and the community can reap great rewards.
In 2005, the Boggabri District in North West NSW was in the grip of one of the harshest droughts ever experienced, with the livelihood of local farmers and businesses severely threatened.
Boggabri Lions Club were exploring ideas for injecting life and enthusiasm back in to the town of 900 and raising morale.
After discussions with the Narrabri Shire Visitor Information Centre the Lions Club members decided that there was untapped potential in the caravanners who travelled through Narrabri Shire regularly on their pilgrimage north for Winter and south for Summer.
There was an opportunity to showcase true country experiences and hospitality and target the “grey nomads” when they travelled through the area.
“Tourism was a great way to bring life back to this community,” said General Manager Stewart Todd.
“Boggabri is an extremely friendly town and the idea of having a ‘Droving’ style event was a great way to showcase the true character of the community.”
The first Drovers’ Campfire was held in April 2006 and attracted 29 caravans. The event proved to be popular both with the visitors and locals with meals and yarns being shared, farming displays and tours offered and plenty of local entertainment.
“The town eagerly embraced the opportunity and Council was happy to assist with promotion of the event and taking the event to the next level.”
“Narrabri Shire Council lodged an application for NSW Flagship Event funding which was successful to make this event a major regional event for NSW.”
This additional funding and promotion through the “grapevine” of the grey nomads saw Drovers’ 2016 grow exponentially with 500 caravans and 1255 people camping. As well as the week-long event, visitors now stay additional nights at the Boggabri Showground with the average stay being 8.5 nights to allow them to explore the region further and relish more local hospitality. The event is now extremely popular with local visitors who come along to explore Boggabri and enjoy the entertainment.
“This provides great financial benefit to the local community and small businesses.
“The community and Council are very proud of this event,” said Mr Todd.
“They have a huge portfolio of awards including most recently Silver at the QANTAS Australian Tourism Awards in the Festivals and Events Category and Winner of the Regional NSW Awards, Community Events and Festivals.
“The event has truly put this small town on the map.”