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Smell the curried camel pies as Birdsville Races near

August 25, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

The countdown to the 135th Birdsville Races is well and truly on, with the iconic outback bucket-list experience just one week away and tickets still on sale.

Event organisers are preparing for an influx of thousands to the tiny town on the edge of the Simpson Desert, which for most of the year has a population of 115 people. The town swells to host up to 7000 visitors over the bumper race weekend, which this year runs on Friday and Saturday, 1 and 2 September 2017.

The historic event – billed as “the Melbourne Cup of the Outback” – comprises a 13-race program and a packed schedule of outback entertainment and activities, from film and comedy nights, to live music, Fashion on the Fields, cocktail parties, gourmet trackside dining and Fred Brophy’s famous travelling boxing troupe.

Fred Brophy (centre) Outback legend and fourth generation showman of the world’s last boxing troupe

Birdsville is famous for its characters, as well as special touches like curried camel pies.

Martin Josselyn is the new owner of the Birdsville Bakery, widely famed for its award-winning curried camel pies – a rite of passage for anyone who visits Birdsville and voted Trip Adviser’s “Best Pie in Queensland”.

For those who like a beer with their pie, the bakery is one of only two alcohol-licensed bakeries in Australia. About 12,000 pies are served at the bakery’s peak trading over race weekend. It’s quieter during the rest of the year.

Fred Brophy beats the drum

Another character is Fred Brophy, a fourth-generation showman. Fred Brophy and his travelling boxing troupe – the last of its kind in the world – have become synonymous with the Birdsville Races and outback Australia in general. The son of a sideshow operator and trapeze artist, Fred Brophy began his boxing career at the age of five before starting up his own boxing troupe before reaching 30.

Inside the Famous Birdsville Hotel

The race program offers up a combined prize-purse of AUD 200,000, plus a further AUD 12,500 in QTIS (Queensland Thoroughbred Incentive Scheme) bonuses – making it outback Queensland’s richest two-day horse-race meet.

Martin Josselyn, new master of curried camel pies

The 2017 Birdsville Races will once again support the Royal Flying Doctor Service, hosting a 6.1 kilometre fun run on Wednesday, 30 August 2017, to help fundraise for the vital service in their remote region.

Edited by Peter Needham

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