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Big results from a small grant

September 08th, 2020

Last year, a tourism initiative that helped revive interest in western Queensland and boost visitors to the area was recognised with Australian Philanthropy’s Best Small Grant Award.

A grant for $45,000 from the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, supported by the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation and Qantas, started what became Barcoo Way tourist trail and won the Tambo-Blackall Regional Council the award for best small grant. 

Recipients of the Best Small Grant Award 2019. Photo: Mikulas Jaros

Here’s what happened next.

“Twelve months on from the Australian Philanthropy award, the Barcoo Way has proven to be an exciting new frontier for tourists visiting western Queensland.

A wet start to the season did not slow down the stream of visitors in 2019, with many enjoying the events in towns along the route.

The Barcoo Way features natural wonders, historic towns and colourful characters. These have been a huge drawcard for travellers looking to focus on the ‘road less travelled’.

With the start of 2020, the Barcoo Way has faced the same issues as all tourism enterprises. Lockdown due to COVID 19 has meant a late start to the season, but the lifting of travel restrictions within Queensland has led to a new type of tourist discovering our area and a flurry of caravaners heading over the borders when allowed.

The Barcoo Way is characterised by its isolation and harsh conditions; both of these have held the towns along the route in good stead to meet the challenges of the pandemic.

Many visitors are coming out of the South-East Queensland region and visiting for the first time. The wide-open spaces have huge appeal for those who have been cooped up for months. For more seasoned travellers, finding themselves in familiar territory for a longer period than planned, the Barcoo Way is a new area to discover.

We welcome all of these explorers….in fact the only ban has been our too friendly emus in Yaraka who have been banned from the local pub for their chip stealing ways.’’

Rebecca Reilly, Grassland Art Gallery, Tambo, Queensland.

The Australian Philanthropy Awards 2020 will be presented via a digital ceremony on Tuesday 17 November.

Please note: Australian Philanthropy's Best Small Grant Award has been retired this year in a refresh of the Award categories, see the new awards program here.

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