This year is our 60th year of Drafting in Rathdowney and we are pleased to be hosting a three day Campdraft this year. With record numbers expected we are hoping that some of the orginal drafters will come along and share in the Official Opening of our Draft on Sunday at the commencement of the John Drynan Memorial Draft. To celebrate the 60 years the committee have installed new camp entry and we are very pleased with the outcome, we still have a long way to go, with the end of last year seeing the new steel arena being constructed and the committee hopes to raise enough money this year to conclude with the erection on a new set of steel back yards.
An invitation goes out to all past drafters that would like to come along and maybe catch up with old mates and reminense over a cuppa. Tea & Coffe and morning tea will be served after the offical opening of the Draft.
Some of the Drafters that competed at the first draft held in 1952 were:-
- Jimmy Salisbury
- Garry Overton
- Francis Mylett
- Colin McIntyre
- Eddie Ashton
- Brian Drynan
- Liam Moloney
Campdraft Secretary was Max Tilley
While riding home from the Boonah draft, the group of young men:- Jimmy Salisbury, Drew Drynan, Colin McIntyre, Max & Alex Robinson, wondered why Boonah got to have all the fun and made the suggestion that the Rathdowney Memorial Grounds hold a draft of its own. After a lot of voluntary work, erecting yards and with the generous donations from local farmers of cattle in June 1952 the first draft was held. June was decided upon as the Cricket season would be finished and there would be time enough to prepare the ground for the next season. Unfortunately the footballers had a not so perfect ground to play on. In 1980 the Shire Council acquired more land and a separate campdrafting ring was erected. While they were on the job they added Chutes for Rodeos. Flood lights were added to the arena in 1959 to cater for night events. The first draft was called Rathdowney Campdraft & Bushmen's Carnival. The week before the event it rained enough to postpone the draft for a fortnight.
Maurice Jackson supplied 100 head for the Open Draft, which was a 2 round and final Draft. Cattle were mustered but when the draft was postponed they were kept at Robinson's at Tamrookum for a fortnight. James Salisbury snr and George Salisbury "Riverview" provided cattle for the rough riding. George was helped by Felix Ward to muster these cattle and JA (Jim) Drynan also donated cattle so Colin McIntyre (Allawah), Brian Drynan and Wally Walker helped Jim with the mustering and collected cattle donated by Pat Moloney at Lock's Gully and walked them into Rathdowney. Other local farmers that donated cattle for the first draft were Alex Robinson Snr, Alex Robinson Jnr, Max Robinson, Jim Robinson Snr and Harley Robinson. Tony Ward Snr of Black Gully donated calves for the poddy riding. These cattle were trucked in and a portable loading ramp was used. Alex & Max Robinson provided horses for the buck-jumping. One of the horses used for the buck-jumping owed by Alex, was later used on the face of the camp. The Robinson's ability as pick up men were great drawcards. Saddles and gear were kindly borrowed from Woodenbong Rodeo Committee. The bullock riding surcingles were borrowed from Beaudesert and Herb Heit judged the rough riding.
As there was no water at the grounds and the cattle were held for 1-2 days, the cattle were watered on the Logan River.
The Rathdowney & District Memorial Grounds would like to thank the following people that have helped with the new camp entry:-
- The Hollow Station - Brad Henry
- Enrights Sawmill
- David Stretton
- Ray Webber
- Graham Johnson
- Peter Johnstone
- Fred Winkley
- Derek Richards
- Gus Richards
- Mick Schloss
- Bruce Johnson
- Fred Robinson
- Bruce Hohl
- Russell Clark
All the above generously gave of their time or donated services to make the gateway possible and it stands today a credit to them all. See more on the standing of the posts and cap in Camp Gateway.