News, Culture & Society

The Birdsville races kick off in rural Australian town – taking the population from 140 to 8,000

Thousands of Aussie racegoers are expected to head to the iconic Birdsville Races this weekend, boosting the small outback town’s population from 140 to more than 8000.

Traditionally held on the first Saturday in September, Birdsville is perhaps one of Australia’s most unique horse racing events – given that there’s no grass track but rather a barren dessert raceway.

The annual event, which is located between the Simpson and Stuart’s Stony deserts near the South Australian border, is often referred to as the ‘Melbourne Cup’ of the outback, boasting that it has something for everyone.

 

Visitors to the outback town not only get to experience the iconic race but also the land, lifestyle and local people (pictured)

Amateur female boxers fight (pictured) at the Fred Brophy's Boxing Troupe - the last known remaining traveling boxing tent, which takes place on the sidelines of the racetrack in remote outback

Amateur female boxers fight (pictured) at the Fred Brophy’s Boxing Troupe – the last known remaining traveling boxing tent, which takes place on the sidelines of the racetrack in remote outback

Fashion plays a key part in the event's schedule, but it's not all black ties and ball gowns - with racegoers putting their best foot forward in glad rags, ranging from fancy dresses to Where's Wally and inflatable beer costumes

Fashion plays a key part in the event’s schedule, but it’s not all black ties and ball gowns – with racegoers putting their best foot forward in glad rags, ranging from posh gowns to fancy dress (pictured) and inflatable beer costumes

Racegoers at the annual event are known for their adventurous attire, including these people in their Where's Wally? costumes (pictured)

Racegoers at the annual event are known for their adventurous attire, including these people in their Where’s Wally? costumes (pictured)

Racegoers in their matching pink suits (pictured) pose for a photo at the iconic Birdsville races in Queensland on August 31 

Racegoers in their matching pink suits (pictured) pose for a photo at the iconic Birdsville races in Queensland on August 31 

From circus performers, family fun-runs and boxing, to free movie screenings, sunset tours and bush dancing, the event provides something for everyone – and one of more unique attractions is the diamante bra strap presentation.

That said, fashion plays a key part in the event’s schedule, but it’s not all black ties and ball gowns – with racegoers often stepping out in glad rags ranging from posh dresses to ‘Where’s Wally?’ outfits and inflatable beer costumes.

There’s plenty of competitions for best dressed fashions on the field as well, with prizes for varying ages and gender groups – there’s even a doggy fashions off the field event.

What began as an unofficial race meet in 1882 between 150 owners, managers and stockmen, who raised nearly £200 by public subscription, is now Queensland’s Richest two-day horse-racing meet.

Back then, race bets were all settled as the nearby ‘Tucker’s Hotel’ after the last race – but the event has since grown by more than 4000 per cent, with a total prize money increasing from £200 to $200,000.

The race is so popular that previous events have attracted a number of special guests, including Pauline Hanson, who made a cameo appearance as a ring-card girl in 2017.

The race is so popular that its grown as much as 4000 per cent, with previous events attracting many special guests, including Pauline Hanson (centre), who made a cameo appearance as a ring-card girl in 2017

The race is so popular that its grown as much as 4000 per cent, with previous events attracting many special guests, including Pauline Hanson (centre), who made a cameo appearance as a ring-card girl in 2017

Nowadays, as many as 8000 people are expected to descend on Birdsville for a week long program of events - including the Betoota Races, Bedourie Races and Ute & Travellers' Muster - with the race itself (pictured) being the highlight event

Nowadays, as many as 8000 people are expected to descend on Birdsville for a week long program of events – including the Betoota Races, Bedourie Races and Ute & Travellers’ Muster – with the race itself (pictured) being the highlight event

The iconic Birdsville Races (pictured) have kicked off again in Queensland, drawing racegoers from around the country, boosting the small outback town's population from 140 to more than 8000

The iconic Birdsville Races (pictured) have kicked off again in Queensland, drawing racegoers from around the country, boosting the small outback town’s population from 140 to more than 8000

What began as an unofficial race meet in 1882 between 150 owners who raised nearly 200 pounds by public subscription, is now Queensland's Richest two-day horse-racing meet (pictured)

What began as an unofficial race meet in 1882 between 150 owners who raised nearly 200 pounds by public subscription, is now Queensland’s Richest two-day horse-racing meet (pictured)

The Birdsville races (pictured) have grown by more than 4000 per cent, with a total prize money pot increasing from £200 in 1882 to $200,000 today

The Birdsville races (pictured) have grown by more than 4000 per cent, with a total prize money pot increasing from £200 in 1882 to $200,000 today

The event brings together all walks of life (pictured), including local outback residents and visitors from all over Australia and the world, for the quintessentially Aussie experience

Birdsville itself, a former rest stop and watering hole for cattle drivers moving their stock, has become a thriving modern community as well as home to the world-renowned desert racing event. 

As many as 8000 people are expected to descend on Birdsville this weekend to enjoy the remainder of the week long program of events – including the Betoota Races, Bedourie Races and Ute & Travellers’ Muster – with the race itself being the highlight.

The event brings together all walks of life, including local outback residents and visitors from all over Australia and the world, for the quintessentially Aussie experience.

Visitors get to experience the land, lifestyle, and people of the Diamantina Shire firsthand, with the money raised from the event supporting the community and raising funds for the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Queensland.

The Birdsville races program continues until Sunday 2 September. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


Comments are closed.