Starting in 1994, it all began with a couple of locals spinning yarns over the bar at the Town and Country Club, coming up with ways to put Julia Creek on the map. Low and behold, in one of Queensland’s hottest and harshest climates the idea was born to run a triathlon!
Whilst many would have scoffed at the idea, the challenge was taken up by many competitors in what was (at that stage) the newest tough sport. A junior triathlon was run in conjunction with the seniors, with figures such as Brad Beven inspiring the youngsters on. In 1997 the triathlon became part of the Saucony Adventure Series for professional triathletes.
The triathlon continues to grow both in numbers and esteem. It’s not easy – but then nothing is in this part of Australia, that’s the challenge! Renowned as one of the toughest triathlons in the country, the Dirt & Dust triathlon has seen the likes of Olympians Brad Beven, Loretta Harrop, Courtney Atkinson and Emma Jackson compete for the crown.
There is however something for everyone else that doesn’t run, ride or swim. Over the years we have seen magicians, country music talent quests, amateur boxing, dance groups, cultural performers, fireworks displays, tobacco rolling contests, local ironman/woman contests, sanctioned Bullrides and the list goes on.
The Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival is organized by a non-profit organisation run by a small group of volunteers, committee members and an Event Manager.
Early in the new millennium the organizing volunteers were overrun with the juggling act between the event, their families, work commitments and everything else that is just part of life in a small country town. For those who wonder what there is to do in a small country town, the answer is plenty! There are just fewer people to do it. But the community continues to ensure the success of Dirt n Dust, with at least 30% of all McKinlay Shire residents volunteering throughout the year.
We love our volunteers. Each year we show our appreciation in one form or another. In 2009 the Festival organized a series of professional skills based training sessions to ensure our volunteers have the knowledge and confidence to promote our community for many years to come. Part two of this training, which involved a volunteer conference, complete with motivational speaker – Major Glen Toddhunter – was delivered after the 2010 event.
The Dirt n Dust shows more appreciation for their volunteers by sending them to Tourism and Events Conferences yearly to keep them up to speed on the industry, representatives to the Outback Tourism Awards Ceremonies and the occasional Tourism Summit in other regions!
We hold an annual ‘Community Shindig’ on the Sunday after the event for our beloved Volunteers to show our appreciation for all the hard work they contribute to keep our festival running smoothly.
To all these people who spend countless amount of hours volunteering their time for the community and Dirt n Dust – thankyou! We cannot express our thanks enough for the hardwork and time you give.
Register your interest in volunteering at the Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival by filling in the below volunteer application form and emailing the Volunteer Coordinator via firstname.lastname@example.org
In 2006 and 2007 the community was rewarded by the Festival taking out the Outback Queensland Tourism’s Award for Significant Festivals and Events category and Tourism Queensland’s Excellence in Innovation award. 2008 saw the Dirt & Dust Festival announced as a FINALIST at the prestigious TOURISM QUEENSLAND AWARDS. In 2009 the Festival was shortlisted in the Q150 poll that recognised Queensland’s top icons – a remarkable achievement in view of the relative youth of the Festival.
In 2009, the festival also WON the Best Festival and Event in Queensland at the TOURISM QUEENSLAND AWARDS. Whilst we only came away with a Highly Commended at the Australian Tourism Awards – we are extremely pleased to receive a great amount of recognition for the festival. In 2010, we came away with an amazing 3 awards at the Outback Queensland Tourism Awards – Major Festival and Events Award, Outstanding Contribution by a Volunteer or Volunteer Group Award (a credit to the amazing volunteers we have year to year that spend countless amount of hours helping us!), and a Highly Commended for the New Tourism Development Award – for our amazing Pit Stop to the Creek adventure.
Whilst the committee is very pleased to receive recognition for the huge amount of effort that is placed into the event each year, the true reward comes from what is seen over the weekend of the Festival.
The community truly comes alive. We draw those who work tirelessly on the land into town for a weekend of socialisation. We reunite past and current residents. We meet new friends from near and far. We introduce international athletes to the heart of Queensland. We bring together committee members who now live throughout Australia. We light up the faces of our kids. We see that rural Queensland truly is a great place to visit and live.
So come along and check out the many colourful characters in our part of the world. Try your hand at one of the competitions. Or sit back and enjoy the hospitality and excitement of the weekend.
See you here… April 7th, 8th and 9th 2017.
McKinlay Shire was named after the great Australian explorer, John McKinlay, who undertook the first and greatest transcontinental feat in Australia – travelling from Adelaide to the Gulf Of Carpentaria in 1861-1862. The first settlers had to be hardy souls, and even today the shire is a place of extraordinary people who cope with the outback Aussie way of life, where community spirit overlooks the hardships of drought and isolation.
Dirt n Dust is a community event and this is reflected in the local community, businesses and organisations who make it their event by becoming sponsors, volunteers and get involved.
The community truly comes alive. We draw those who work tirelessly on the land into town for a weekend of socialization. We reunite past and current residents. We meet new friends from near and far. We introduce international athletes to the heart of Queensland. We bring together committee members who now live throughout Australia. We light up the faces of our kids. We see that rural Queensland truly is a great place to visit and live.
We are passionate about our event and the local community has a sense of pride about the event. It’s what makes Julia Creek known as more than just a small outback town. The event has an infectious atmosphere, loved by not just the community, but the visitors and competitors alike.
“There are no strangers here, just friends you haven’t met yet”
How many people does it take to run the Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival? We get asked all the time, and to be honest, it is always expanding!
About 200 volunteers, a dedicated Event Crew, Dirt n Dust committee members and an Event Manager… who all work together to drive the success of the Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival.
It’s a far cry from the events humble beginnings in 1994, with a mere 15 people participating it what was then called, the Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Triathlon when the committee was initially formed and begun to shape the event we now know today as the Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival.
Now, we have community representatives from Julia Creek and committee members based throughout the country who offer diverse skills such as finance, human resources, medical knowledge and small business owners who all provide their knowledge on a volunteer basis. The Dirt n Dust Festival is in the hands of a committee driven to success.
The Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival and its committee are committed to safety, alcohol and fatigue management.
As a result of our commitment, numerous policies have been put in place throughout the Dirt n Dust history to ensure the longevity of our event and the safety of our patrons.