Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)
The Buchan Rodeo has been the highlight of the local event calendar for more than 50 years. Despite significant challenges, strong community leadership and strength overrode the challenging conditions and ensured this event proceeded in April 2021, considerably lifting local spirits and pride.
Traditionally held on Easter Sunday, the event was postponed in 2020 due to impacts of the bushfire crisis six months prior. The bushfires began near Buchan in the East Gippsland region of Victoria in October 2019, well before the media began reporting on the crisis. Residents endured the threat for more than four months, often losing communication with the outside world.
Given their isolation and the lack of communication and media coverage, the remote community of Buchan has felt largely overlooked in their recovery phase. However, Buchan is a strong and resilient community, with sharpened skills in post-disaster recovery.
In planning the 2021 Buchan Rodeo, there was much to consider in staging a COVID safe event. Despite this, the local volunteer committee was determined to proceed for the benefit of their community.
With only a 10-week lead time, much-needed funding and support came in the form of a $25,000 Strengthening Rural Communities grant, funded by the Firefight Australia Fund. This grant, along with support from other partnerships, not only allowed the Buchan Rodeo Committee to meet their safety guidelines and enhance their offering, but also enabled them to proceed with confidence.
The 2021 Buchan Rodeo was an electric event and though it saw many changes, it was heralded as one of the best-ever. It brought smiles back to those who worked so hard on the project and to the greater community who had endured so much.
“While the entire planet is enduring the COVID-19 crisis and looks to methods of recovery, we are still repairing our community in the aftermath of bushfires. A strong rural community is key and the staging of community building initiatives is of vital importance to us.” Buchan community member