Press Release: Darkan Sheepfest to ‘Dunk for Dolly’

17th January 2019

Darkan community supports Dolly’s Dream to break down bullying with dunk tank fun.

Darkan Sheepfest has earned the reputation of being a ‘good old fashioned, fun and safe country show for the whole family’.  Sadly there are some families in Australia whose children don’t feel safe and aren’t having fun.

This time last year, Amy ‘Dolly’ Everett, a 14 year old country girl from the NT, took her own life.  It is unimaginable to think of the grief parents feel when losing a child; but it is incomprehensible to learn that it was due to the bullying and cyber bullying by somebody else’s child.  In Dolly’s own words it is now time to “Speak, Even if Your Voice Shakes.”

Local health professional and Darkan Sheepfest committee person Pam Stockley explains the decision to support Dolly’s Dream –

“Last year Darkan Sheepfest raised a considerable amount of money for Black Dog Ride but more importantly it created a high level of awareness for their organisation on the actual day and through the media.  Given our focus this year was to engage youth more at our show, it made sense to have a charity that had a focus on youth mental health.  It was unanimous that Dolly’s Dream was just the right one.”

Darkan Sheepfest will be held on Saturday 9th February 2019 commencing at 9.30am.  There are two new headline events being held – the inaugural Farmer vs Footballer Farm Boot Foot Race and the Young Farmer Challenge.  Last year’s popular events, the Sport Shear and Ewe Hogget Competitions, will be held again.  But the “Dunk for Dolly” Dunk Tank will no doubt be a very special and memorable event.

Duncan South, Chief Fire Control Officer for the Shire of West Arthur, local farmer and father of three is more than happy to be ‘dunked’ for this important cause.

“Our children are very precious to us.  We want them to feel confident about coming to us with their problems so that we can help to resolve them.  We also hope that their friends will come to us if they notice that there is something wrong.  Communication between family, friends and community will hopefully protect and help our children.”

Local Darkan teenager and boarding student Odette Telfer, 15, loves nothing more than spending time with her family and friends –

“I couldn’t imagine life without my beautiful friends and family, their love and support means a lot to me.  Dolly is a heartbreaking reminder that we need to take care of each other and be compassionate.  You never look good trying to make someone else look bad.”

Another way to combat bullying is through early education.  Eloisa Goss, Darkan Primary School Principal and recent finalist in the WA Department of Education Awards, is a strong advocate for the safety and well-being of children.

“It is important that we all know what bullying is and that we all understand what constitutes bullying. The ‘National Definition of Bullying’ in Australian schools allow us to develop this common understanding.  We use the Department of Education’s ‘Protective Behaviours’ program to help our children strengthen their ability to keep themselves safe and minimise risks. There are many personal safety issues that our children are exposed to and we are now more aware of the physical and emotional trauma of bullying and cyber bullying.  It is important our children develop personal safety and resilience skills.  You can start by simply talking at home with your children, helping them identify and understand their feelings.”

Darkan Sheepfest will once again provide free entertainment for children with only a gold coin entry fee.  There will also be a Sundowner to bring Sheepfest to a close with a bar, aptly named the ‘Baa!’ and band until 10pm.  High resolution images can be provided for publication.

For all media enquiries please contact Karlene Goss 0428361366 or







Photo 1 Pam Stockley, committee member of Darkan Sheepfest, says the community will be proud to support Dolly’s Dream at this year’s event







Photo 2 Locals are keen to ‘dunk Dunc!’ – Shire of West Arthur Chief Control Fire Officer, Duncan South, for a good cause






Photo 3 Darkan Primary School Principal, Eloisa Goss, is passionate about making children feel safe






Photo 4 Local teenager, Odette Telfer and friends wanting all teenagers to ‘Speak Up’ about bullying





2019 Darkan Sheepfest Supreme Sponsors

Press Release: Darkan Sheepfest to hold Farm Boot Foot Race

29 November 2018

Who Is Faster: A Farmer or A Footballer?!

Did you know that a farmer can move very fast when they’ve nearly finished drafting a mob of sheep in the sheep yards and suddenly realise they have forgotten to shut the gate? Surely, their mad dash would rival any footy player’s sprint on the footy field?! Well it’s all set to be proven at Darkan Sheepfest 2019!

Darkan, in the Shire of West Arthur, held an inaugural, and very successful, grassroots country show in February this year and plans are well and truly underway for the next Darkan Sheepfest to be held on Saturday Feb 9, 2019.

The draw-card event will be the inaugural ‘Farm Boot Foot Race’ – think mini ‘Stawell Gift’ but with the added degree of difficulty in having to run in farm boots! Most importantly, however, competitors will need to nominate whether they are running as a farmer or a footballer. Farm work clothes and your favourite footy team jumper is completely optional!

As far as the Darkan Sheepfest committee knows, there has never been a ‘Farmer vs Footballer’ race quite like it. Although it is well known of the legendary Cliff Young, the 61 year old NSW dairy farmer, who won the ‘Sydney to Melbourne Ultramarathon’ by training in his farm gumboots – but that was a shuffle at best, not a sprint!

Paul Duffield, ex-Fremantle Dockers player, coach of the local football team and Darkan sheep farmer has given his full support for Darkan Sheepfest and is also keen to compete in the Farm Boot Foot Race –

“I think it is a great idea and should be a bit of fun. Pre-season training is always hard
to get the boys motivated, but with the Farm Boot Foot Race having some cash prizes,
it should certainly give a bit of incentive for the guys to get fit before next footy season starts. The difficult part for me is deciding whether to compete as a farmer or a footballer, because I am both!”

The agricultural industry has seen some tough times this year, with drought in some parts of WA as well as in NSW and Qld and ironically in the same year some WA crop farmers being wiped out by frost.

Ray Harrington, Shire of West Arthur President, recipient of the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for ‘Service to Primary Industry’ and most recently earning the title of Australian Farming Legend of the Year is excited to see Darkan Sheepfest continue –

“It is more important than ever to remain positive and support our farmers and businesses linked to the agricultural industry. I have been passionate about farming all my life and any event that promotes what we do and gives the rest of the population a chance to experience sheep and wool is a great initiative. I am looking forward to being there and being a part of the day.”

A big part of wool and sheep farming is the younger generation choosing an education in agriculture which enables them to come back and commence working on farms with a full set of skills and

experiences. These skills will be showcased in a ‘Young Farmer Challenge’ demonstration, also a new feature of the Darkan Sheepfest’s 2019 event program.

Young Darkan local and 2018 Head Girl of Cunderdin Agricultural College, Bonnie Telfer, is looking forward to the challenge –

“I have competed twice in the Farm Skills competition at the Perth Royal Show and look forward toparticipatingintheYoungFarmerChallengeatthenextDarkanSheepfest. Competitions like this give young people interested in the agricultural industry a chance to build and demonstrate their practical farming skills. I think it will add to the great atmosphere at the Darkan Sheepfest and get more young people involved.”

As well as the Darkan Sheepfest adding several new and exciting events to the program, you will still enjoy the sport shear competition, wool fashions parades, sheepdog show and be able to cool off on all the waterslides. But ultimately it will still have that good old country show feel that everybody will not stop talking about for a long time after.

Darkan Sheepfest Chairperson Nathan King sums up –

“Having been born and raised into the sheep and wool way of life, it’s easy to appreciate the lifestyle we have. But don’t take my word for it; see for yourself by visiting the West Arthur Shire. Working in the industry helps you realise that we are truly part of such a great source of food and fibre for the world. Areas like Darkan are some of the best places in the world in producing these vital commodities; we have a great history of sheep and wool. Come and spend a day in the country alongside our farmers, shearers and inventors at Darkan Sheepfest and find out where the wool story begins.”

The best part is, Darkan Sheepfest entry fee is still only a gold coin donation due to the generous support of all our sponsors including our Supreme Sponsors Darkan Agri Services, Byfields Business Advisers, Elders and Collie & Districts Community Bank.

For all media enquiries please contact Karlene Goss on 0428 361 366 or Images below in preview size only. High resolution images can be made available for publishing on request.

2019 Darkan Sheepfest Supreme Sponsors


Sheepfest Puts Darkan on the Map

photo of two judges watching shearer competing in Darkan Sheepfest shearing competition. photo by Caro Telfer, Photographer

What an incredible achievement for Darkan!  No-one could ever have imagined that over one thousand people would go through the gates on Saturday 10th February for the inaugural Darkan Sheepfest.

Was it due to all the hard work of the committee and sub-committees in less than 13 weeks? Or to some novelty marketing ideas (e.g. the Sheepfest wool-bales…now that was hard work)? Or is it that people nowadays are really looking to go back to that grass roots country show where everyone can have a good time without any big costs?

The Sport Shear competition drew a large crowd and some of the best competitors in the state.  This competition is part of the statewide annual circuit with the outright winners of the year being state representatives for the National competition.  

Shaun Counsel from Warrening Gully, Williams, had the best ewe-hoggets.  Local novice models were a hit on the catwalk.  Free entertainment all day was the family drawcard.  To see city kids playing so happily and being welcomed by our local kids is something they will always remember and our community should be so proud of.  

The Sundowner bar didn’t expect one thousand people at the first Sheepfest either and therefore relocated to the air-conditioned sports club.  Everyone was entertained by the great band Feather & Down and the not-so-great local who had a turn with their microphone and ruined a perfectly good Cold Chisel song (although still very entertaining!)

One special moment our community should be very proud of is their support of the #blackdogride.  It is fair to say it is far easier to get a story on prime time news about a small town and sheep than it is to raise awareness of mental health.  Incredibly, Darkan Sheepfest raised more money for #blackdogride and had more people visit their stand than the Perth Royal Show!  Maybe we really do, do it better in the country!  For that our whole community should be commended.

So Darkan is now well and truly on the map!  The media coverage the Darkan Sheepfest received is still hard to believe.  ABC Great Southern Radio & TV, Farm Weekly, Countryman, 6PR Perth, GWN News, Collie Mail, Narrogin Observer; they all wanted to tell the Sheepfest Story.  We have heard it even made it to the eastern states and was mentioned by Alan Jones on Sydney radio station 2GB!  There are even more media articles in the pipeline so stay tuned.


Now is the time to say a big THANKYOU to those who supported the Darkan Sheepfest and there are so many to fit in we needed to change the font size!  To our sponsors for putting your dollars towards a first-time event with a possible risk of no return for your dollar: your generosity is what enabled over one thousand people through the gate for just a gold coin donation.  To our community contributors, both cash donation and in-kind (equating to cash): your contribution was remarkable in its generosity but it inspired the committee to keep working hard because they felt so supported.  To the pink ladies and the blue men (sub-committees) who were walking sponsor billboards, walking ambassadors and information booths and were gophers, multi-taskers, free labourers: the show would not ever go on without you all.  To the community, you have all played a part in the success of Darkan Sheepfest: you came along to support it, you invited your friends and you said “great job well done.”  Finally to the inaugural Darkan Sheepfest committee of only just 6; Sarah Buscumb, Teleah Higgie, Jodie King, Nathan King, Julie McFall, and Pam Stockley:  you are all amazing!  To not only volunteer your time to go along to an Enterprising Communities workshop facilitated by the Shire of West Arthur and Regional Development Australia – Wheatbelt, but to then spend all of your Christmas, New Year and January with ‘All Things Sheep & More’ demonstrates your commitment and showcases volunteering in this community at its best.