February 17, 2015
by Anne Miller
There’s always something magical when you head out to the Ironpot Hall on Reef’n’Beef night.
On Saturday night, the air was crisp and the sky was dark. At the Mannuem crossroads, the Milky Way looked just feet above my head.
And then, after travelling kilometre after kilometre of bush road – over cattle grids, on gravel, slowing for stock and then a bettong – I turned right.
A few hundred metres down the road, there was an oasis of light and music arising out of the dark.
Jam-packed into a temporary carpark were farm trucks, 4WDs, caravans, campers and several tourist coaches.
This is the seventh year that Team Ironpot has organised the Reef’n’Beef Extravaganza at the tiny Ironpot Hall.
Organiser Scott Henschen said the first year it attracted 140 people. The following year 170, and then 240 …
For the past five years, organisers have had to cap the bookings at 300 adults. That’s how popular it now is.
“We had to turn away 120 people this year,” Scott admitted.
Reef’n’Beef quickly outgrew the hall and now a string of marquees is erected in the hall grounds to cater for all the guests.
And they come from everywhere.
This year there were visitors from Dubbo, Mt Isa, Gladstone and Hervey Bay as well as from all over the South Burnett and nearby districts keen to celebrate Valentine’s Day at Ironpot.
They feasted on whole red emperor, pan-fried fish fillets, natural and kilpatrick oysters, Moreton Bay bugs, prawns and scallops plus rib fillet steak and rib roast, served with veges roasted over an open fire.
Entertainment was provided by local singer Lloyd Back, The Clan (bagpipes) and three roving magicians.
The bartenders were kept busy as they served under a new awning installed on the side of the hall.
The night is a charity fundraiser. The beneficiaries this year are the Ironpot Rural Fire Brigade, breast cancer research and the Ironpot Hall.
However, as everyone queued for their meals, I don’t think too many were thinking about all those people they were helping … they were just busy simply enjoying themselves!