This year our event introduced a new volunteer program. An event of this size requires many people to put it together, so we entrusted Anna Francis to pilot this program. It was a huge amount of work, but the effort paid off. We welcomed 200 volunteers to our team, each person did a great job and we all agree this program will continue.
One highlight of the weekend was a history of Omeo forum conducted by Jeff Cooper from the Omeo Historical Society. A verbal sparring match between Jeff and legendary Benambra pilot Ben Buckley was not to be missed. A public land management forum was also held in the Heritage Tent conducted by Chris Commins from Ensay. This included an update on the indigenous burning project which the MCAV strongly supports. The Heritage tent also hosted a farmer health stand hosted by National Centre for Farmer Health. The Don Kneebone poetry competition was well attended with the Heritage Tent overflowing with spectators.
128 horses were camped onsite and the horse events were strongly contested, especially by younger people keen to try their skills and horse against strong competition.
The Winner of the Mountain Cattlemen’s Challenge Cup was Troy Nicholas and lady’s division winner was Shea Reynolds, full results will be posted soon.
The usual fun events and dog jump thrilled the crowd during the three days of family fun.
Rain dampened spirits on Friday and Saturday nights when the band was unable to play which disappointed the MCAV and many patrons who thankfully understood the reasons however, during all the three days the sun came out during the day and large crowds supported the events stalls, bar and food vendors.
During the official opening, President of the MCAV Graeme Stoney told the crowd that the MCAV will continue to promote good public land management.
“Serious damage done by deer, weeds and minimal cool burning means the High Country is deteriorating”, Mr Stoney said.
“The MCAV supports some reduction in brumby numbers but does not support shooting them from helicopters” he said
Past president Charlie Lovick was presented with a Life Member Certificate by former President Simon Turner. Geoff Burrowes has also been awarded with a life membership of the MCAV.
The Glenda Lovick President’s bar
Stonemason and craftsman Greg Cogan and his mates have created a stone bar dedicated to the memory of Glenda Lovick. The bar is inscribed with the names of all MCAV Presidents and was unveiled in front of the Lovick family on Friday night. Charlie Lovick told the crowd that on behalf of the family, he was humbled by the gesture.
High Country Hall of Fame
The announcement by the Victorian Opposition that it will fund a feasibility study into the development of a High Country Hall of Fame has been welcomed by the Mountain Cattlemen’s Association of Victoria (MCAV).
The announcement was made by the Leader of the National Party, Peter Walsh MP during the official opening in the Heritage Tent. A good number of MPs from both the National and Liberal parties, and councillors from East Gippsland Shire were also present at the announcement.
Peter Walsh told the crowd that the High Country is a unique part of Victoria’s history and heritage for many reasons, “that is why we are making this commitment”.
“The MCAV welcomes the announcement by Peter Walsh because the heritage and culture of the Mountain Cattlemen must be preserved”, the President of the MCAV Graeme Stoney said following the announcement.
“Our families have developed a specific and unique culture ever since 1834 when James MacFarlane settled in Victoria near the headwaters of the Murray River.
“Over the years, the Cattlemen’s families have been gradually removed from most of the High Country and with that removal has been the loss of much knowledge as to how the High Country works and how best to manage it. “If this knowledge, history and culture isn’t recorded and displayed in facilities such as in a Hall of Fame, soon it will be lost forever” Mr Stoney said.
At the closing presentations Graeme thanked the volunteers, sponsors, stall holders, patrons and the three announcers Steve Condon, John Embling and Tom Crombie. Graeme also mentioned Ian Enders and his talented family who have provided the PA systems for the event for years and always get the job done. Mountain Cattlemen David Hurley and Leonie Phelan have run the bar for years for the MCAV. They have announced their retirement from that role. The MCAV acknowledges their long years of service to the MCAV and wishes them every success for the future “I am only going to name one other person and that is the event coordinator, Scotty Jennison. Scotty and his team have hardly been to bed for a week and have presented us with an enjoyable and professionally run weekend, thank you” he told the crowd.