GROW Rural Central Queensland 2022 Wrap Up

16 August 2022

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​The 2021-2023 GROW Rural Central Queensland (CQ) cohort gathered together again for the second year of their rural immersion program. We are pleased to say that this year we successfully completed the entire weekend’s activities without any (COVID) hiccups.

Our first day’s destination was Blackboy Outstation, just outside of Woorabinda, where we received a warm Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony by the Traditional Owners. There was a special visit from the local prep children, who are part of the Junior Rangers Program which raises Indigenous student’s awareness about the importance of looking after Country, sharing traditional stories and knowledge. 

Back in Woorabinda we toured the hospital and got to know the local health professionals, learning about their roles in the hospital and in the wider community, and what life is like working and living in an Indigenous community.

Later that afternoon, the Eather family welcomed us back to Myella Farm Stay where we would spend our first night. We were greeted by a new puppy (working dog in training) and the resident roo ‘Hazel’. Three students had birthdays during GROW Rural CQ this year which we celebrated during a great night out at the nearby Baralaba Hotel. The locals were excited to have out of towners visit their local and joined the students in a few games of pool, in between a delicious dinner and a show stopping birthday cake dessert made especially for us by the new chef.

Day two began before the crack of dawn with farm fresh eggs, toast and tea by the fire. The students then leant their hands to drafting some of the new cattle. It appeared some have missed their calling as cowhands as they did a super job of moving the cattle through the different yards. After mastering the art of whip cracking, a final crack of the whip got the students to the bus and on to picturesque Junction Park in the town of Theodore. Once again, we were warmly Welcomed to Country, this time by young Traditional Owner, Dailen Fuller performing his very first ceremony. What an honour!

Anne Chater, school teacher, part-time Theodore Medical Practice Manager and long-time advocate for rural health, then led the students on a walking tour along the river and through town to Theodore Hospital for the next of our planned activities. The students broke into three groups to tour the hospital, medical centre and ambulance station before joining in a talking circle with local health professionals. The talking circle gave the students the opportunity to ask the health professionals questions and listen further about life in Theodore, including the challenges and benefits encountered on their rural health journeys.

The Theodore community banded together to provide billeting for that evening, so the students headed off to enjoy the afternoon with their assigned family to have some adventures such as rolling around on huge bales of cotton, playing with baby chicks and joining the farm dogs on quad bikes. The students gathered again that night to mix with the locals at the Theodore Rodeo which was a huge event and lots of fun. There may be video evidence of some fantastic boot scooting!

Our final day was spent in Moura at the local high school for some clinical skills sessions. The sessions were based on a rodeo scenario which allowed the GROW Rural students to appreciate how multiple disciplines contribute to the patient journey. We were very impressed with the eagerness of the local high school students who joined us for these sessions and with the students who catered for our rather large group morning tea and lunch. Our full tummies lasted us all the way back to Rockhampton and on our flights home.

We will meet again the same time in 2023 for the final year of GROW Rural CQ for this cohort - we are looking forward to it already!

Visit our Facebook page to see all photos from this trip.

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