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The bush lights up for Head of the Outback

The bush came alive with rowing in September for the annual Head of the Outback.

Saturday was spent at the Barcaldine Rec Park, with a series of side-by-side knockout races producing a memorable day of rowing.

After a second night in town, the regatta relocated to the Thomson River in Longreach for a longer race, a six-kilometre enduro to crown the Head of the Outback.

Crews set off one at a time in a handicapped race, with the slowest crews leaving first.

The race involved three kilometres up the river, then a 180-degree turn and three kilometres back, all against the clock.

Crews came from Brisbane, Canberra, Rockhampton, Sydney, and Townsville. There were rowers from 18 Rowing Clubs and three schools involved.

The Outback convoy had set off earlier in the week, with two trailers of boats and most of the 100 rowers in cars.

They stopped to row in Rockhampton and then Fairbairn Dam on the journey.

There was camping in Barcaldine under the magnificent clear outback skies at the Golf Club and a few great social evenings outside and in the local pubs and restaurants.

The event concluded at Smithy’s iconic Outback Adventure location on the Thomson riverbank for lunch and awards.

This is an event that is now getting embedded into rower’s must-do bucket lists: experience racing at Henley Royal Regatta (UK), The Head of the Charles (USA), Head of the Yarra (Vic) and now the Outback Regatta.

Rowing Australia Participation and Education Manager Ron Batt thanked organisers and praised the enthusiasm of the local community.

“There are exciting plans to offer locals in both Barcaldine and Longreach opportunities to try rowing, both indoor and outdoor, with further details will be announced soon,” Mr Batt said.