Bulls Masters Witness Drought Devastation In Longreach
The Bulls Masters had heard about the drought affecting graziers and communities in Central West Queensland but to see the scale of it was a shock for all the boys. We could feel the despair in the air of the communities that had been praying for rain for more than seven years now.
Outback Futures are a not-for-profit organisation who provide mental health support for people in rural and regional Queensland and it is definitely a service that is very important to so many that are dealing with incredibly harsh conditions that is outside of their control. The aim of the Bulls Masters tour to Longreach and it's surrounding towns was to raise money and awareness for Outback Futures.
The Masters did this with their Sportsman's Dinner and their T20 match against the Best of the Bush XI. The bush lads put up a good fight in restricting the Bulls Masters to 131, but with current Queensland Bulls opening bowlers in their team this time, the old boys won a close game. The Bush XI finished their 20 overs with 9-107.
We also got the chance to meet and mingle with many of the drought affected graziers through events held by Outback Futures. The impression we got of the people out there was of strong, hard-working folk who are trying to stay positive. There was a sense that beneath the smiles, the warm hand-shakes and the kind hospitality was a very real struggle to survive a drought that just keeps going day after day, year after year.
Many of the Bulls Masters got the chance to speak openly about some of the struggles that they'd encountered in their careers and in their lives. Everyone has their mental health issues and state or national cricketers are no different. By sharing their experiences, the Masters hoped to promote the importance of talking about issues that are affecting us and seeking help.
In the four days we were in Longreach we got to travel around to many schools, hospitals and towns to meet the locals, including Barcaldine, Winton, Ilfracombe, Isisford, Jundah and Barcoo.