May 3, 2016
The South Burnett played host to an extra thousand tourists last week when 415 caravans and RVs packed Boondooma Homestead’s grounds for the annual Spirit Of The Bush Heritage and Bush Balladeers Muster.
Organisers said they were very pleased with attendance numbers, which were only slightly down on last year.
The popular music festival has been held around Anzac Day for the last 16 years and routinely features an average of 50 bush balladeering artists, along with walk-up acts.
Many performers – such as well-known South Burnett balladeer Dean Perrett – are nationally famous.
The Muster normally runs over five days. But this year, because Anzac Day fell on a Monday, it was extended to six.
The historic Homestead also holds an Anzac Day service on April 25 as part of the Muster so guests didn’t miss out on this important national observance.
The real magnet of the event, though, is country music, camp oven cooking, the relaxed camaraderie and camping out.
This year, one new attraction that drew a lot of comment was a steam-driven 1920s Case Traction Engine, which provided visitors with free rides around the Homestead’s grounds.
The engine was brought to the Homestead on a truck by Kingaroy collector Steve Hood, who said the unusual vehicle had been with his family since 1941.
Steve put in 2500 hours restoring the vintage steam engine to full working order, and enjoyed giving visitors a ride on the 90-year-old engine to experience a piece of history that – these days – is usually only found in museum displays.
The Muster also played home to many stalls selling anything from Moffatdale Ridge wines and freshly-brewed coffee to clothing, memorabilia and camp oven cooking accessories.
Bill and Patty Winters, the inventors of the Kingaroy Choofer range of camp ovens manufactured from recycled gas canisters, were another popular new attraction.
Many guests booked in for the entire six days, though there were plenty of day-trippers and weekend visitors too.
The Muster is one of the Homestead’s two major annual fundraisers.
The other is the Scots In The Bush celtic festival, which will be held on August 19-21.