Dusty delight snags the win

The South Australian Army Band headlined at the Day in the Dust at Robertstown. FILE PHOTO.
The South Australian Army Band headlined at the Day in the Dust at Robertstown. FILE PHOTO.

As Robertstown heads into what looks to be the fourth year of a drought, the community has had a much-needed morale boost.

Last year's a 'Day in the Dust' drought relief concert, hosted by Eastern Drought Community Action Group has been named the 2020 South Australian Community Event of Year.

Not only was it recognised for the state award but also the Regional Council of Goyder's Robertstown ward event.

RCG deputy mayor and organising committee member John Neal said it was a huge boost for the community to have the event recognised.

He said many years ago an event similar to this was held at Robertstown and the community were keen to see it happen again.

The idea was put forward and, as it would be, out of the blue the Army called and offered their assistance to the drought-affected community as they were doing throughout the state.

"...everything just dropped into place," Mr Neal said.

With the stars aligned, Mr Neal said the committee got into full organisation mode.

The Army band stayed in the community for a week, visited schools throughout the area and performed in towns.

Mr Neal said on the night of the concert whilst the band kept the 400-odd visitors entertained, it was the chatter, laughter and general togetherness when he stepped away from the music that made the night.

"...when you walked away from the band there was a hub of conversation and that's what we wanted. To win the state award was just unbelievable," Mr Neal said.

A temporary event date for April 2020 has been set, but watch this space as the plans unravel.

"I think we will need to have something. We are now heading into our fourth year of the worst drought anyone has seen in this area." he said.

Mr Neal said both council and the army were tremendous supporters of the event and their assistance made it happen.

Everything for the event was also purchased locally.

"...you know that all the businesses are suffering as there is no spare cash to spend."

Picking up last night's award was the committee behind a Day in the Dust, as well as Regional Council of Goyder Mayor Peter Mattey OAM and CEO David Stevenson.

Picking up last night's award was the committee behind a Day in the Dust, as well as Regional Council of Goyder Mayor Peter Mattey OAM and CEO David Stevenson.

The community of Robertstown will celebrate their award on Sunday with their Australia Day breakfast.

Regional Council of Goyder Mayor Peter Mattey OAM said the concert was an exceptional example of how council, community, business and the Australian Defence Force, state and federal departments could partner together in response to difficult times.

He thanked all involved and said it supported their focus put on the region to ensure residents remained happy, healthy and participating actively in all aspects of life.

"A number of our communities face extreme difficulties with regard to the ongoing drought and whilst our farmers are at the 'coalface' of these extremely difficult conditions, we are also aware that this impacts on our township businesses as well as those whose employment security depends on the welfare of both sectors," Mr Mattey OAM said.

"The Day in the Dust received overwhelming support from the community, which was reflected in the high attendance and provided much needed respite from the daily stressors of drought for the whole community."

Mr Mattey OAM thanked all involved for the running of the event, including the Eastern District Drought Community Action Group along with council staff for their efforts in overseeing the concert.

"Throughout the year, as a community, we have focussed on supporting our region to ensure our residents remain happy, healthy and participating actively in all aspects of life."

He was also grateful to the Army Band who spent time touring the region and developing relationships with communities throughout Goyder prior to the event.

"Their visit and performance at the event reminded our community that they are not alone in their battle with drought and brought people together to enjoy an evening of great music entertainment," Mr Mattey OAM said.

"Also thanks to the local performers, sports clubs and drought support services who volunteered their time to ensure a successful evening for everyone."

This story Dusty delight snags the win first appeared on Northern Argus.