In 1922, a young man named John Duff attended the inaugural Burrandowan Races in the small rural Queensland town of Chahpingah, around 275 kilometres north-west of Brisbane in the South Burnett. John was on a mission. He had a horse called Thunderclap that he wanted to nominate in the 7 Furlong Ladies Bracelet race, however the horse had to be nominated in the name of a lady.

He soon crossed paths with Dorothea Evans, a complete stranger, and asked her whether he could nominate the horse in her name. She agreed and John went on to ride Thunderclap for the win. John was presented with a ladies bracelet as a prize, which he gave to Dorothea. This was the start of a long love story, with the couple marrying four years later.

Today, the tradition of the silver ladies bracelet continues, with South Burnett Regional Councillor and granddaughter of John and Dorothea Duff, Cr Kathy Duff, presenting a handmade sterling silver bracelet to the winning jockey in a race at Burrandowan each year in honour of her family’s heritage. Despite an extended break during, and post, World War II, and the threat of losing the races altogether in the early 2000s after changes to the country racing structure, the reputation of the Burrandowan Races has remained strong and today it is one of the most popular rural racing events on the Queensland Country Racing calendar.

Taking place on Sunday 11 May 2019, and celebrating its 97th anniversary, the Burrandowan Races includes a five-race program, clay target shoot, fashions on the field competition, dancing under the stars event, children’s amusements, and the traditional pit-fired cook your own barbecue dinner. Along with the day and nighttime entertainment program, racegoers won’t go hungry, with a range of food vans and the Chahpingah Café operating from the hall to provide plenty of variety to please the crowds. Grazing boxes and cheese platters are also available for pre-order, and it would not be a country race meet without the local community groups behind a barbecue or serving up burgers and chips.

Readers also enjoyed our socials from Dalby Picnic Races.