Basalt Bash & Beauty – Empowering Women of Far North Queensland
Basalt Bash & Beauty is an event for rural and remote women, bringing them together to strengthen social cohesion, reduce the sense of isolation, encourage conversations on key issues and common themes, and improve mental health and wellbeing.
At this event women develop skills and are provided with links to assistance and industry related updates and information. The Basalt Bash provides a unique opportunity for rural and isolated remote women to build networks, relax and have a few fun days together. Over the years the event has grown and evolved, with more and more women coming along to share their stories, experiences and challenges of life in far North Queensland.
The Basalt Bash is an annual highlight in the rural events calendar. It is organised by Northern Gulf Resource Management Group (NGRMG) with support from the Department of Agriculture & Fisheries (DAF), where people attend for the social connection, and leave with new skills and capabilities. The 2019 Basalt Bash included a variety of learning opportunities for those who attended. There was everything from a soils forum to an agri-data management session focused on improved herd recording options. Ladies also built new pathways for support and assistance by connecting with the Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS), mental health counsellors and the Country Women’s Association (CWA).
The Basalt Bash partnership (RFCS, DAF, NGRMG, CWA, AgForce and the Edward Koch Foundation) is strongly aligned with the NGRMG organisational priorities of caring for the land and people. The event is supported by the GrazingFutures project which supports NGRMG, DAF and partner organisations to deliver workshops, training, and targeted support within the themes of people and business, grazing land management and animal production. GrazingFutures emphasises enhancing the skills and capability of grazing industry support officers to facilitate improvement in business resilience, drought recovery and future drought preparedness of grazing businesses. The team assist graziers in managing drought and business risk; boost industry and community engagement; mentor new extension staff; promote and run targeted industry events: and expand grazier-stakeholder networks.
The Basalt Bash, while social in nature, provides an array of additional learning opportunities. Animal health, herd husbandry and land management are just some of the Basalt Bash topics, with DAF taking a lead role in delivering this information.
With large distances and small populations characterising the North Queensland rangelands, it is critical organisations take a collaborative approach to orchestrating industry events. The Basalt Bash is testament to this, with strong partnerships at state and local government level, as well as regional industry bodies contributing resources to improve grazier-community engagement and participation at local events.
Producer’s dominate the Basalt Bash, with 60% of attendees being primary producers. Most of these are beef producers, however, ladies from other agricultural industries do attend. Other guests are typically industry stakeholders and agencies.
At earlier events, the total number of participants was around 25, however, over the years this number has skyrocketed. In recent years, as many as 70 women converge on the Basalt Bash for a few days of fun, learning and a bit mischief.
The important partnership between NGRMG and DAF, embedded in the relaxed social nature of the event has created an environment in which graziers are more willing to ask for assistance and services that relate to their grazing business, as well as seek out RFCS and QRIDA advice. These partnerships help to deliver comprehensive support to grazing businesses and value add to existing services.
The Basalt Bash has encouraged greater discussions and opportunities for landholders to reach out, with a comforting realisation that they can ask for support with questions around their business, land management and personal concerns. This is one of the reasons that Basalt Bash, and similar events such as the Queensland Women’s Week Roadshow and Bush Business workshops, are so valuable in North Queensland.
Goals and outcomes
- Prioritise the delivery of workshops, training and targeted support to the region.
- Improve the skills and capability of grazing industry support officers.
- Create partnerships to deliver comprehensive support to grazing businesses.
- Analyse and document key learnings from grazing businesses.
In 2020, the Basalt Bash is heading to a new location, Mt Carbine. This will see the event welcome a new wave of ladies from Cape York Peninsula. ‘Bloom & Prosper’ will offer a networking event followed by workshops that are themed around disaster recovery. The GrazingFutures team (Southern Gulf NRM & DAF) in Cloncurry and Richmond are eager to mirror this successful model to engage rural women across north west Queensland.
To read more about the Basalt Bash & Beauty, download the event case study: Basalt Bash Case Study (PDF, 1 MB).
The next Basalt Bash & Beauty event will be “Bloom and prosper” being held on 5-7 June at Mount Carbine.