Bush Opera


Around mid-2018 at the height of the drought in rural Queensland, in a casual conversation between old friends Tom Versluys (Boulevard Gardens) and Ted Crowe (Rotary Club of Brisbane Taylor Bridge) prompted the pair to explore ways they could help our struggling farmers. Tom said, “Why not have a function here at the Boulevard Gardens to raise funds?”

Well, the idea grew from there.

Over the course of the next 4 or 5 months, the team set about organising a fund-raiser built around the theme "Bush Opera". The event was held at the magnificent Boulevard Gardens on 17 November 2018, attended by 98 guests.

Each guest was charged $150 for the dinner plus entertainment from the Tatty Tenors and the Brisbane City Opera Group. As the Boulevard Gardens were providing the delicious three course dinner at cost and the entertainers donating their time freely, $100 of the $150 could go to the Rotary District 9630 Drought Relief Program as a tax-deductible donation.

The challenge was to source the entertainment, a Master of Ceremonies, a photographer and an auctioneer, all for free. Given the cause and the timing, this aim was achieved without too much difficulty due to the strong community support and empathy for our farmers.

The event itself was a complete success. The mood was set early by the very moving poem "With the Cattle" written by Banjo Patterson and narrated by Tony Bellette. A huge thanks to Patty Beecham for organising this, a highlight of the event.

The MC was Ben Davis from Channel 7 and attendees were thoroughly entertained during the course of the night by the Tatty Tenors and the Brisbane City Opera Group.

The $100/person donations plus raffle and auction sales all contributed to the amount raised. At the end of the night, the organisers had the pleasure of handing the Chairman of the Rotary District 9630 Drought Relief Committee, Phillip Charles, a cheque for $14,500. A wonderful effort by all concerned.

Total raised was $18,689.