Event Review: The Jackie Howe Festival of the Golden Shears

The Jackie Howe Festival of the Golden Shears at the Jondaryan Woolshed, west of Toowoomba, lunged into its second year on Friday 6th September running over three days. The event celebrates the Australian sheep and wool industry and the life of the legendary Australian shearer. Much more than just the oldest original operating woolshed, built in 1859, this destination is now the host of weddings, corporate functions and a number of annual events.

Guests of the Friday night Grand Banquet were treated royally as a who’s who of the Darling Downs attended per-dinner drinks in the Woolshed. The celebratory atmosphere was enjoyed by many who opted to take the complimentary shuttle from Toowoomba CBD.  The delectable four course meal, showcasing local lamb, was beautifully presented by guest celebrity chef Scott Taylor together with Ian Raklander, executive chef of The Woolshed.

With the taste buds taken care of, the entertainment was a treat to the eyes an ears! A magnificent fashion was show presented by Lizzie Wagner and orchestrated by fashion icon Colleen Cuneo. Some of Australia’s most celebrated designers wowed the crowd with a performance which would rival those in New York and Milan.

Cuneo, a former international model and the director of Cuneo Productions said that when it comes to Regional Fashion Shows, she jumps at the opportunity.  “It’s so lovely in regional areas, it seems our shows are much more appreciated, especially in Queensland”.  She is also a highly sought after fashion and modeling consultant who says that an entertaining show like reminds her of the early days in Sydney, when they brought European style shows to Australia.  “They’d never seen anything like it!”

The epic presentation of dance, strutting models and fashion of the ages was coordinated beautifully with videos, graphics and catchy songs. A collection of evening and ready to wear outfits by Alex Perry was a highlight of the evening.  The fashion program saw designs inspired by memorable eras of fashion, the sixties, seventies, right through to now.  The eighties, as Wagner put it “Was a time where unchecked ambition went forward into the future”.  A collection of the ‘rebirth of glamour’ included a modern look at gym wear by V-Active, which were stylish, body hugging outfits made with Australian Merino Wool.

The CareFlight Charity Auction followed the meal and fashion show, with Cr Geoff McDonald as guest auctioneer. The auction goods featured Australian art and beautiful shearing inspired custom jewelry.

The three day festival, touted as Australia’s richest shearing competition, included the Sports Shear QLD State Titles and the Jackie Howe Invitational which was won by Rob Glover over defending champ, Daniel McIntyre.  The festival was also host to the Utility Sheep Dog Trials and other popular activities such as blacksmithing, whip making and cracking, an old time dance and camp oven cooking. The days were loaded with family activities such as billy cart racing, horse and cart rides, miniature trains, games for the kids and the popular Woolshed’s Animal Nursery.

The fashion show was presented twice a day throughout the weekend to the delight of spectators, with hands on fashion workshops presented by Lizzie Wagner, author of “Business and Social Etiquette”.  The workshops included ‘corporate dressing’ and ‘interpreting this seasons trends’.  Wagner gave advice on why everyone should take an interest in fashion. She said, “As a mum, a teacher, a professional, you must inspire the people around you.”

After another successful year, the festival will be bigger and better next year.  Jondaryan Woolshed Events coordinator Gene Corbett said the festival is only in its second year but has already gained plenty of momentum.

Cuneo is keen to come back next year saying, “It’s so nice how everyone has been, we all feel so welcomed!”

Tegan DeClark

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