The outlook for 2017

Host: Katherine Outback Experience
Written by Annabel McLarty – Owner, Katherine Outback Experience.

Just a month into 2017 and we are pretty excited for the year ahead (17 also happens to be my favourite number)!

The show is gaining momentum in the south west of WA as word continues to spread. Our last show in Dunsborough was scheduled for 18th February 2017 to allow us time to pack up before Tom heads over east for a few weeks.

Tom and Legend during a Katherine Outback Experience show in Dunsborough.

The little kids and big kids love the hands on interaction with the working dogs. The working dogs have muzzles on to prevent them from nipping the sheep in the segment of the show that follows.

For those of you who know Tom for his music, you may be aware that it’s been nearly a decade since his last album ‘Heatwave’ was released. Well we have some exciting news! Tom is heading to Sydney in March to record his new album with Producer Garth Porter (the keyboard player from the successful 70’s Australian rock band ‘Sherbet’ and also Lee Kernaghan’s Producer).

I might be biased, but I think this is Tom’s best work yet. Without giving too much away, the album could be described as an eclectic mix of those things that make the Territory so unique, from the breathtaking landscapes to the interesting characters and laidback way of life. There are also stories of loss, hope and triumph, reflecting the past decade of Tom’s life and others. As mentioned in earlier blogs, there is a duet with seven times Golden Guitar winner Luke O’Shea, and there is the possibility of more collaborations with well-known Australian Country music artists.

An epic image taken at about 5am from the top of Edith Falls (north of Katherine in the NT) at sunrise as Luke and Tom filmed footage for the video clip of Never Never Land – soon to be released!

We have been busy in recent weeks brainstorming creative ways to quickly raise funds to assist with the production costs of the album and video clips. We haven’t got much time, however we are hoping to pre-sell the album and even some gigs in order to assist with covering the costs. More information is available on our ‘Katherine Outback Experience’ website. Please don’t hesitate to get in contact to learn more.

In late March, when Tom returns from the east, we will pack up the truck, horses, and dogs, and venture the 4,000km north back to Katherine. We have given ourselves about a week to unpack and get the site in shape before the breakers start to arrive. The show will open on 4th April for guests travelling on Great Southern Rail’s ‘The Ghan’ train.

We are hoping the new toilet and shower facility will be complete in early April which will increase our capacity to host more school camps, larger tour groups, and functions.

After the level of local support we received from last year’s concerts under the stars, plans are already underway to host more in 2017. We have been in discussions with a number of nationally acclaimed music artists and are looking at building this element of our business. Tom spent a number of his younger years touring, and knows how difficult it is to make a living on the road. We didn’t actually make anything from the previous concerts as we gave it all back to the artists. Being a regional town in the Top End of Australia, we often miss out on touring musicians. We have a unique opportunity to bring artists to Katherine for the enjoyment of the community, whilst providing a mentoring and networking platform for younger musicians to perform alongside household names.

The July installation of music under the stars with Harry Hookey, Katie Oliver, and Bernie Flynn.

We have a young team of horses in work that we are hoping to compete at a few local campdrafts again this year. We did run ourselves a bit ragged last season so we probably won’t get to as many drafts as hoped. With just the two of us currently in the show, we can’t afford to get sick or run down. We are conscious the tourism wave can crash as quickly as it rises and it is important we put 100% into every show.

Tom and Rhapsody – one of the younger mares Tom has recently started to campaign with his TPM Saddle.  

We will finish the show in Katherine at the end of October and will again hit to road, migrating back to the south west of WA for the summer. We haven’t yet decided if we will reopen the show in Dunsborough, however after the success of this season it is looking promising – watch this space.

With a bit of luck we might get to stopover for a couple of days again at Barn Hill Station Stay 130km south of Broome where we had a 10km stretch of beach all to ourselves – and 13 dogs!

If you haven’t seen our 2016 Central Station Blogs, you may be wondering what relevance this crazy adventure of ours has to do with the northern beef industry – well it all started with the 2011 Live Beef Export Ban.

Although a very different story at the time and the toughest years of Tom’s life that followed, we can look back now and acknowledge we are a good news story that resulted from a very difficult time in northern Australia. The ban flipped Tom’s life upside down, forced a new path, which lead to a new a romance and career changes for us both.

We are excited by what the future holds. We are strong believers that with a positive attitude, a bit of creativity and hard work, anything is possible – as the saying goes, the world is our oyster.

Until next time – we wish all the Central Station followers a fabulous year ahead and hope to see you either in Katherine, NT from April to October or Dunsborough, WA from December to February (Or maybe even the 2018 Tamworth Country Music Festival . . . )!