Meringandan’s Best-Kept Secret

Only 5 minutes down the road from the Highfields Tavern is Michari Meats. Such a convenient butcher shop so close to everywhere. It was here on a country drive that this meat loving family of mine, first encountered the difference between supermarket and bulk buy meat offerings and meat sourced from local quality and low-mile sites. And what was the difference?

Initially drawn to the message board outside the butcher shop, we tried a couple of varieties of lamb and pork sausages laden with herbs and distinctive flavours, and that was the end of wondering whether there was going to be a return visit. The flavour of the bacon is smokey and conjures up the traditional family butcher shop of my childhood, and once we learnt all the smallgoods were prepared on site, we were sold! Of course having a taster from a charcuterie board presented by Micahri Meats at a Wedding Industry promotional function at Lily’s Restaurant at the Highfields Hotel, cemented the deal. Being guided by owner and long-time butcher Michael as to the purity of the products, this coeliac sufferer was able to approach the return visits with relish – and not just the array of condiments available to compliment the meats.

Michael and Shari make such a great partnership, where Michael has gone from working for the previous owner, to being their own entity since 2018, totally refurbishing the shop to its gleaming white interior and presenting the diverse range of meats which draws repeat customers every day. The message is clearly ‘affordable quality” and I can vouch for that personally.

Michari’s points of difference are many:-

. All ham (yes folks, it’s that time of the year when thoughts turn towards the Christmas ham), bacon and smallgoods are cured and woodsmoked on the premises

. Gluten free ham, bacon, silverside, and sausages

. Full bodies, sides and quarters are available

. Private kills and cut upsmare available

. Phone orders are welcome – 07 4643 8441

and best of all…..Delivery to your home or business – good old-fashioned service with a friendly chat as well.

As well as the enticing display cabinet and smallgoods area, there are great flavourings and the must-have apron accessory for the barbecue chef. That Tomahawk steak is becoming too tempting.

Michael and Shari believe in living and procuring local, and the abbatoirs that supply their meat are from the Downs. This ensures freshness and an environmental low-carbon footprint. Michari Meats supplies Toowomba businesses with top quality meat for their products and customer feedback is always so positive.

The secret is out – Michari Meats in Main Street at Meringandan outshines the rest – take the drive, taste the difference and make the call! You’re Welcome!

Quinalow – where the pigs party hard!

Greg and Cheryl Daley – publicans at the Quinalow Hotel – hosted another outstandingly successful Jacko’s Hawaiian Beach Party yesterday in memory of Jacko Reithmuller. This event which takes the Reithmuller family the whole year to organise, is a fun, family day raising money for the oncology unit at St Andrews Hospital and the Cancer Council in the hope that cancer research soon finds a cure and doesn’t take loved ones too soon like Jacko.

Greg believed the crowd was double that of the previous one, and had his fingers crossed that around $30,000 might be the final count for funds raised. What an amazing event for a small community of 180 people (2016) sitting at the Gateway to the Bunya Mountains between Toowoomba and Dalby on the Darling Downs.

The grounds beside the pub were converted in to a sea of Hawaiian themed shirts, groups of families and friends sporting dubious outfits, costumes, leis and definitely huge smiles. What a fun day!

The last time I visited Quinalow there were only a handful of caravans in the van park across the road from the pub. Today’s visit saw it overflowing with campers keen to spend as much time enjoying themselves as possible.

Volunteers are the key to the success of any event, and the number of volunteers here was jaw-dropping! From the efficient happy faces on the entry gate keeping us COVID safe to the AMAZING raffle prize ticket sellers, to the Reithmuller siblings Courtney, Bryce and Craig, and Mum Jenny, making sure the sweep tickets were ready for each race, to the cooks at the bbq and to the judges and the drink sellers – HATS OFF TO YOU!

These volunteers count on the generosity of local business sponsors to provide the facilities and the entertainment on the day…….and the sponsors for the Pig Races came out in spades! Not wanting to miss anyone, I will leave that list to the organisers.

And so we come to the pigs!

The Pig Races hosted by Noah’s Racing Pigs from the historic Darling Downs Hotel affectionately known as the Sandy Creek Pub about 10 kms outside Warwick are a hoot! Each pig is sponsored, wears a glitzy coloured bib and joins in the races about every 45 minutes. Obviously at the top of their game in terms of animal safety and health, this lovely couple know how to pull and hold a crowd.

Race 1 and newcomers to the races realised they were in for a helluva fast-paced ride. Firstly the auction of the pigs, with the highest bidder ‘owning’ the pig for the race. If their pig wins the race, the winner receives half of the purse, and the other goes towards the fund raising. It was a beautiful Spring day, but it seemed as if things warmed up quickly once the bidding started. Total purse for Race 1 was around $2600 once all 7 pigs were ‘bought’. Those not in syndicates bidding, were able to buy sweep tickets to win $100 on each pig in each race in the sweep draw.

And they’re off! The pigs were trying to be the first to the bowl filled with milk at the end of a maze of barrels, hay bales, gates and ramps. Excited piglets and a bowl of milk make for a short-lived but exciting race – and it was the silver-coated pig that won. Prize winners were grinners! Then it was a break to get food and drink, sweep and raffle tickets before the next race.

Serious syndicate bidding

It also gave time to check out the stalls along the perimeter. Local and near-local vendors showing their crafts and selling their wares.

The little tickers were not forgotten on this family day. Some found the tree house in the distinctive bottle tree, while others like Cooper came with their families from Brisbane, only a hop, step and jump down the Range. The best-dressed boy and girl competition saw a bit of sibling squabbling over their Hawaiian props, and the cutest little strawberry in the patch didn’t know what all the fuss was about!

Race 2 saw the bidding heat up and one pig was bought for over $700. That brought a great cheer from the crowd! Another syndicate bought the winning pig, so won half their money back – what fun! It was also lovely to meet Eileen whose delicious jams and pickles are permanently on sale at the pub. Her gift packs are an ideal gift with Christmas coming up.

But what was happening inside the pub while all this was happening outside? Well the charming ladies behind the bar, yes that’s Cheryl, and smiling bar helpers, were hard-pressed to keep up with the demand. Relaxed punters spilled out on to the shady verandahs, and everyone seemed to have found their rhythm for the day.

As we reluctantly bid farewell to the fun to head back to Toowoomba, we were sure that the bids for the party pigs would rise in line with the amount of drinking that was happening throughout the afternoon. I can’t wait to find out the fund-raising efforts of the whole community’s efforts.

Well done Quinalow – Jacko lives on in all your hearts!

Show Societies Mix Things up for a Sweeter Taste for 2022

To keep up to the moment in caking trends and to launch changes to programming for Cake categories for five local Show Societies, stewards from Toowoomba, Pittsworth, Dalby, Goombungee-Haden and Kilcoy have been invited to attend Mary Reid’s Merivale Cake and Crafts Community Training. Ms Reid has been a longtime regional advocate for this traditional cake baking and decorating section that Show goers always enjoy and marvel at, but she is also an advocate for contemporary trends to be included in Show judging categories. To this end Ms Reid wrote the guidelines for a Cake Decorating Category.

Included in this category for 2022 will be Pre-Mix. Purists may raise their eyebrows and query this inclusion, but with the capacity for a pre-mixed Mud cake to have a total prep time ready for baking in under 20 minutes, competitors are already heralding this as a winner for the future of Show cake competition. They love the idea that it is almost fool-proof.

So why add this category in? What does Pre-Mix mean? Who could enter this category? With the restrictions brought by COVID over the past two show years, there needs to be a boost to more baking exhibits, a boost in foot traffic and a boost to annual numbers for small shows. Pre-mix and the enticing lure of sweet piped buttercream flowers provides a fresh drawcard for beginner bakers dipping their toes in to the waters of competition.

Already the appeal to sponsors is bringing results with two years’ incredible sponsorship offers from 14 sponsors for Toowoomba, Goombungee-Haden and Kilcoy, while Pittsworth and Dalby are grateful for their own individual local community sponsorship. With guaranteed sponsorship, marketing will target a younger age group and encourage new competitors to try their skills – there will be no age limit. This is why Pre-Mix baking holds such appeal.

Competitors will have to bake a 6 inch square White Truffle Mud Cake from the supplied recipe with its stipulated ingredients.

Stewards have great confidence in this addition to the direction in baking, and are looking forward to a new era of competitors to keep interest in this favourite section of the local shows. Next on the drawing may be a Regional Pre-Mix Fruit Cake competition – tradition and currency making a perfect partnership!

Top of the Morning to You

When you find yourself with a few moments to kill in your town centre, it is a great opportunity to stroll the block and take in the special little sights and sounds. So here is a snapshot of the Top of the CBD block in Toowoomba on a fresh October morning.

The People’s Place next to City Hall is a haven for the many office workers and the visitors and the community organisations who all contribute to the community hub. On this particular Spring morning, the sprinkling of pink balloons and cutout female forms heralded the focus on Breast Cancer Awareness. Mingling amongst the still beautiful garden beds, they drew the attention of the passers-by to another health scourge still unsolved. This square of colour also provides the security of a wifi and free phone site – when so many homeless need a lifeline this is it!

With a few minutes to spare, I ambled down the block past the beautiful avenue of totems in the Green. These tributes to the traditions and hopes of the local Gaibal and Jarrowair Aboriginal people are truly stunning pieces of art and soul.

In contrast to this ancient , surviving cultural gift to the people of Toowoomba is the more contemporary Regional Art Gallery. It is a joy to visit regularly to see both local artists’ exhibitions as well as the ‘out of towners’.

The streetscape of the CBD is changing to the beat of highrise apartment living demands, and as such there is now a wide range of restaurants, high quality foodie finds and green spaces for those visitors or residents making this part of the CBD their patch.

So in a small stroll, the energy and the freshness of this part of the city permeates the pulse and of course there is the great coffee and eats at Tina’s Place at the end of it to complete the enjoyment.

Here’s to a Top Stroll…..

Pick Your Pig

In memory of Wayne “Jacko” Reithmuller (1968-2015), taken way too soon, and proudly raising funds for St Andrews’s Hospital and the Cancer Council, the annual Pig Races are on again in Quinalow on Saturday 16th October. It is definitely the place to be for a fun-filled family day sporting the Hawaiian theme.

These locals have community spirit running through their veins instead of blood I reckon! There is an influx of visitors taking advantage of the camping grounds opposite the pub. There is colourful merchandise and HUGE smiles on the faces of the punters as they pick their favoured pigs for the lively races.

A wonderful little town with a BIG, BIG heart. It is the hub of the three little communities of Quinalow, Maclagan and Paranga and truly deserves the title of Gateway to the Bunyas. It is conveniently located close to Toowoomba, Highfields and Dalby and Crows Nest. Come and make a weekend of it, or take the interesting drive out and back in a day.

Of course, the biggest hearts are those of Publican Greg Daley and his charming wife, Cheryl, who run the friendliest pub around. The Quinalow Pub is a terrific place to spend a couple of hours and enjoy the feeds, fun and family atmosphere

Are you looking for your Hawaiian regalia already? Tickets are available online, and it will be another year before you get to have this much fun again!

Stay tuned for the results from the big day – hope to see you there!

Quinalow – a little town with a load of character

I have come to know Quinalow quite well in recent months and already have a soft spot for its community and its big heart. Come and explore what keeps its heart beating so strongly.

If you have to pin it down to one particular thing, it would be the character of its characters. Wholeheartedly community centred, the locals support each other through the good times and the dry times. Luckily there is never a time when there is a dry time at the pub!

I love the look and the feel of the local Quinalow State School which has been the centre of student lives since 1901, after the Daly brothers established the first cheese factory on the Darling Downs here. Staunch Catholics, they named their little piece of agricultural settlement after Bishop Quinn. The Irish for near a stream – alow- was added and the settlement grew along the banks of Myall Creek.

The principles underlying the school ethos, are felt across the whole community. It is a truly caring place to live. Many of the facilities we city slickers take for granted are not immediately on hand within the triangle of the three neighbouring communities, but Maclagan, Peranga and Quinalow combine to provide the essentials of life – healthy air, a few sporting, school, pool, library, museum, memorial facilities, cemetery and with a quirky convenience store thrown in, what more would you need? A pub!

Yes, the Quinalow Pub is a rural town classic! So grab a cold drink and come along for the stories and people of Quinalow over the next few months – Cheers!

Promoting the Pig Races – Sat16th October 2021 – COOL MERCH!

Pick Your Pig

In memory of Wayne “Jacko” Reithmuller (1968-2015), taken way too soon, and proudly raising funds for St Andrews’s Hospital and the Cancer Council, the annual Pig Races are on again in Quinalow on Saturday 16th October. It is definitely the place to be for a fun-filled family day sporting the Hawaiian theme.

These locals have community spirit running through their veins instead of blood I reckon! There is an influx of visitors taking advantage of the camping grounds opposite the pub. There is colourful merchandise and HUGE smiles on the faces of the punters as they pick their favoured pigs for the lively races.

A wonderful little town with a BIG, BIG heart. It is the hub of the three little communities of Quinalow, Maclagan and Paranga and truly deserves the title of Gateway to the Bunyas. It is conveniently located close to Toowoomba, Highfields and Dalby and Crows Nest. Come and make a weekend of it, or take the interesting drive out and back in a day.

Of course, the biggest hearts are those of Publican Greg Daley and his charming wife, Cheryl, who run the friendliest pub around. The Quinalow Pub is a terrific place to spend a couple of hours and enjoy the feeds, fun and family atmosphere

Are you looking for your Hawaiian regalia already? Tickets are available online, and it will be another year before you get to have this much fun again!

Stay tuned for the results from the big day – hope to see you there!

Toowoomba Waterbird Reserve

A Bicentennial Project completed in 1988, this Weltlands Reserve which attracts a variety of birds to its waters is a key feature of the suburban landscape off Alderley Street in the southerly area of Rangeville in Toowoomba. If you were a tourist or a local keen to explore the city’s natural ecosystems based on popular review sites, or even the Toowoomba Region Council’s promotional site, you would see both positive and negative comments about it – enough to suggest a personal viewing was in order. So it was without any prejudice that LSM (Long Suffering Male) and I pulled up to stroll the Reserve.

It was latish afternoon and the lowering sun created a very peaceful glow. The filtered light created a very pleasant natural canvas through the trees and across the lawns of the units, houses and backyard of a local church which have the good fortune to be built along its boundary. It must be tempting to walk dogs along the meandering paths, but there are are none allowed….nor drones nor water activities.

So what was the history of this habitat?

It was conceived and championed by local residents to provide a place of safety and protection of the native birds, lizards and plant species found in the local creek area. Particular advocate was Dr Neil McKilligan whose dedication on one of the many seats dotted along the walkway provides an indication of his determination for this place of natural refuge to become a reality. It was completed in time for the celebrations of the 200 years of European colonial settlement in 1988 under the Mayoral watch of Councillor Clive Berghofer and the then Councillors.

We were greeted by a duck and drake waddling near the thick plants lining the bank of the wetlands. It is definitely a place of sanctuary for many bird species, and their birdcall from the upper branches of old gums is very entrancing.

The views from the walking path stretch out to the island of large stick nests of the overwhelming numbers of Ibis. It almost smacks of a colonial barracade of these often maligned ‘bin chicken’ scavengers. It begs the question of which birds were around here originally, and was the influx of Ibis expected? LSM ventured the thought that there would be a downside for the nearby human residents when the south-easterly winds wafted the smells across from the island refuge.

The viewing platform overhangs the very murky brown waters, and this appears to be the hangout for the different species of ducks – a healthy mix. They entertain the walkers, photographers and they offer an insight in to the separation of habitat between the smaller and the larger birds. The one permanent statute of an Ibis in the water provides a small platform for the brave bird trying to sun itself until challenged by the large Muscovy drake.

The plants provide not only protection for the birds, but a beautiful backdrop. The path winds around the grassed areas to the architecturally unexpected toilet block. What an interesting design! What a shame the graffiti bandits have attacked it!

Our ducky welcoming committee was there to farewell us as we strolled back towards the car park, and we couldn’t help wonder whether the Wetlands had been usurped by the Ibis and had eroded the original intent. At the time of the Spring Carnival in the Garden City much more could be made of the area to attract bird watchers and family picnics – but a bit of spit and polish would help.

I adored Adora Downs

Must be the country girl lurking deep inside that drew me to the overall appeal of Adora Downs @adoradownsfunctioncentre at rural Mt Tyson – just a short drive from the city sights of Toowoomba. This is a treat of a retreat. No wonder so many couples choose this as their wedding venue; so many organisations choose the rural setting for special events and why people from out west drop anchor here for the camping facilities.

A homestead property with an intriguing history, Adora Downs is owned and run by Mick and Michelle. This generation is not the first to put their stamp on the property, however. Originally Mick’s parents started collecting and coverting bits and pieces, and the old wool shed was converted to its current venue status.

While the drive in to the entrance is modest, and masks the sprawling panorama of historic treasures of bygone days, it is only a few steps from the car before the true extent of the homestead and its charms unfolds. The sweeping countryside is spectacular and the sunsets are stunning.

AD as a wedding venue is a jaw-dropping option. With the capacity to cater for 125 in onsite accommodation as well as wide open camping spots, this is an ideal weekend or staycation experience for guests. From tying the knot in the garden slab Chapel or being spoilt for choice of great photo locations, wedding parties are so well catered for. The special bridal suite has everything the blushing bride could need.

The quirky accommodation in rustic cabins and historic cottages and converted farm sheds belies the very comfortable and modern facilities on the inside. Recently Executive visitors Natasha O’Meara and Josh Griceb from ABIA Weddings Australia saw the venue and were as excited by it as I am.

Spaces abound for all tastes, families and specialty events. The Country Rockin Blues Shindig is a prime example of 100% fun and positive reviews.

You don’t have to worry about the quality of decor, delicious food, music, the fun noises coming from Ian Wickham’s In the Booth photographs, the bar or curfews here – it is all in very capable hands…..hospitality in spades! Quiet areas for the oldies, plenty to keep little ones occupied in the Old School Bus tv room, or the unusual tilt of the pool table – all add to the country comfort feel.

I am already planning retreats ……..bring it on!

654 Mondam Road, Mt Tyson – 0408 719 385

High Country Wedding Industry Collaboration Summary

The Background

On July 9th 2021, a Wedding Industry Breakfast event was held at The Oaks, Toowoomba to bring wedding industry small and micro vendors, local politicians, influencers and media together to listen to the message of ABIA Weddings, Australia, Managing Director, Natasha O’Meara, as to how the region might be able to best position itself as one of Australia’s top 10 Wedding Destination Packages. COVID 19 restrictions which have devastated the wedding industry over the past two years, restricted the face to face visit of Gold Coast based ABIA at that time. However, the response at the Breakfast was resoundingly positive, so the visit of Natasha and her General Manager Josh Grice was rescheduled for Thursday 23rd September. What a wonderful display of Toowoomba’s Spring weather and its famous gardens for the month-long Carnival of Flowers activities greeted them on their arrival on Thursday.

The Itinerary

. Ian Wickham of In the Booth photographs organised a multi-location tour to showcase both the diversity of the venues and the attractions of the city-to-country ambience the region offers, as well as organising a first-class Paddock to Plate foodie display and taste experience via a networking evening event. His network of 150 small and micro vendors was eager to build on the July introduction.

. Kim Cahill of ToowoombaDarlingDowns.com.au social media marketing platform organised the opportunity for ABIA to discuss their findings of the day’s activities with Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce CEO, Todd Rohl, and to present and speak to the report they had compiled through their large national membership base regarding the impact COVID has had on the industry. This report by ABIA is advocating at the Federal Government level on behalf of the thousands of vendors who need assistance to ride out the pandemic losses.

. Todd’s support for the Collaboration and local initiative to move the industry forward was strong. Todd reported that an application for Federal funding submitted early in 2021 is still waiting for a response due to delays in processing.

. Then came the opportunity for the organising collaborators of Kim Cahill, Ian Wickham, and Mary Reid of Merivale Cakes and Crafts to debrief with Natasha and Josh and formulate some strategies for continuing the momentum. Kim had also arranged for Belinda Sanders from ABC Southern Qld to hear the ABIA message.

TheTour

High-end 5 star venues Gabbinbar Homestead and Preston Peak are the most widely associated outside Toowoomba. Couples pay around $40,000 for weddings at these prestigous city venues.

Gabbinar, with its sweeping driveway entrance, magnificent heritage homestead, ballroom, quiet retreat areas, breakout room for photographers, manicured lawns, extensive garden nooks for photographs sits in a suburban location, and has a national reputation for quality. Chloe’s attention to detail, and accommodating personality and the 60 plus staff ensure its high standards for the hundreds of weddings up to 120 guests range.

Preston Peak is a short 10 minute drive south from Toowoomba, and commands a magnificent view over the range and down the Lockyer Valley. Its clear-sided Chapel, helicopter landings, famous chandelier upon entering the local winery, renowned food menu from a chef and great food team, its own wines and manager Matt’s engaging character make this a very popular choice for couples from Brisbane and Ipswich in particular.

Ian included key tourist locations GumbiGumbi Indigenous Gardens and Raku En Japanese Gardens attached to the University of Southern Queensland to show Natasha and Josh attractions which would entice guests to stay in the Garden City before or after a wedding.

On the Country LIfe side of the regional experience, Ian then drove past Bracknell Lodge – a newer player still developing its grounds, licences and credibility in the rural category. Next was Aberfeldy with its iconic American Barn, expansive views across the plains around Westbrook, Bunkers Hill and Wellcamp, and its effervescent host Cassie. Country hospitality is the vibe here, with the more informal firepit, farm setting and quirky fixtures, then the unexpected large interior behind the sliding barn doors. The huge space offers plenty of creative room for the couples to put their own stamp on things, as well as a homewares store. Accommodation is in the planning stages of this relatively new, but already highly sought-after venture.

The inclusion of the Wellcamp Airport and Precinct in the tour itinerary was a winner. To be able to show the potential for future growth, the Quarantine facility now under construction, the Boeing facility recently announced, the future Austerion Hemp facility and the Entertainment Precinct as well as the potential of the airport to attract wedding guests both nationally and internationally was a valuable insight.

Continuing the tour of the Country Life venues, next was Adora Downs. This long-standing family owned and run homestead boasts a 125 bed capacity in its many and varied historic homes and converted buildings which dot the sprawling acres around the main hall and chapel. Under the laconic watch of this laid-back couple, Adora Downs has the rustic charm and memories so many couples from out west are seeking. For those coming long distances, the capacity to camp onsite is a real drawcard. Being rural there is no curfew on noise or alcohol, which is often a sore point at the city venues. The grounds are filled with treasures and the family and fun-feel pervade the whole complex. A bush bonanza!

The final stop on the day’s tour, after a quick peak at the currently closed Jondaryan Woolshed from the road, was at the Toowoomba Regional Council run Highfields Cultural Centre where Renee showed us the peaceful lawn setting and breakout and weather-proof spaces as well as the well-known and regarded hall space which caters for very large numbers for a variety of events. The fall in wedding numbers at the venue due to a number of pandemic issues and alternative venue openings, has seen the Centre move to more Corporate events.

While Highfields falls under the jurisdiction of the TRC, its residents have always seen Highfields as an independent town, and the recent formulation of the Highfields Chamber of Commerce hopes to see its infrastructure and business opportunities grown in line with its rapidly expanding residency numbers.

Natasha and Josh were then returned to the Highfield Motel where this handy northern accommodation location under the highly experienced couple Bruce and Heidi Ryman, offered respite after the long, but very comprehensive day’s overview of the range of regional offerings.

The Paddock to Plate Event

The evening saw the spectacular display of local producers and suppliers at Lily’s Restaurant at the Highfields Motel under Bruce’s experienced eye, and in partnership with photographer Kat Lynn from Foodie Shots and the Downs Hospitality Training specialist, Stephen Simon. These partnerships provided a quality event for Ian’s Wedding Industry Network to gather, appreciate the chance to Network in a supportive, informal setting and listen to Natasha’s message around collaboration and strategic future planning and action to create the regional destination package. Building on the distinct features the region offers and avoiding the competitiveness which divides rather than builds, there is a real opportunity.

The vendors certainly made the most of the opportunity to tap in to ABIA’s strengths and generosity in coming to visit and share, and it appeared to be a mutually beneficial experience.

THE Display

Friday 24th

An early meeting with TCOC saw Todd explain that the you existing funding application submitted early in 2021 is awaiting the results, but the process has been delayed considerably, and it is not advisable to lose the momentum gained in this recent positive collaboration with ABIA or to sit waiting for the outcome. His offer of support was appreciated. He took a copy of the ABIA report based on a survey of 800 members on the impact of COVID 19 and the conditions the wedding industry finds itself in. Breakdowns across states, and the needs cited by vendors makes compelling reading, and it is hoped that ABIA’s advocacy and appeal to the Federal Government to act upon its findings, will be fruitful.

Natasha and Josh generously offered feedback on their visit to the Collaboration team, and then were interviewed for ABC regional radio by Belinda Sanders.

Debrief

Where to from here?

. the need to survey all vendors, through existing databases inviting them to respond to a small number of questions

. Deciding on the purpose and distinctive regional branding for moving forward

. Gathering knowledge around other successful regions, such as Maleny, to discuss goals and strategies which built their success

. Explore the possibility of being supported by the Chamber as a sub-group until becoming independent

The Collaboration Team acknowledges the incredible generosity of Natasha and ABIA in supporting initiatives to develop an already vibrant regional wedding industry in to a nationally recognised Wedding Destination Package. It also acknowledges the offer of ongoing advice, and statistical support, and sincerely thanks ABIA Weddings for its wonderful partnership.