Cattlemen Bringing The Black Dog To Heel

Raising awareness of depression and suicide prevention in regional areas and in the associated agricultural industries can be an uphill battle against time honoured Aussie battler traditions of "toughing things out", "getting on with it" and "not having a whinge". A group of cattle breeders are taking the bull by the horns and tackling the topic head on.

Garry Thomas from Tungamah Speckle Park Cattle held the Speckle Park Field Day on his property in Gingin, WA, to proudly promote a great breed of cattle and to bring blokes, their families, and local business together to learn more about mental health. He invited Steve Andrews along to make a presentation about Black Dog Ride and talk about the importance of raising awareness of depression, especially in regional areas and amongst men.

Around 100 people visited the Field Day and toured the cattle stalls to learn more about the Speckle Park breed, before settling in to watch a documentary about Black Dog Ride. Steve says, "Many people came up afterwards to thank me and share their personal stories, some of which were very heart wrenching."

A charity auction was then held for Black Dog Ride. Tungamah Stud generously donated a Speckle Park-Murray Grey heifer, sashed the Reserve Champion Lightweight Wagin Woolarama 2013. After fast and furious bidding, the champion heifer brought in $1400 for Black Dog Ride!

Cattlemen bringing the black dog to heel

Auctioneer Preston Clarke from Elders Midland presents the specially made Black Dog Ride sash!

Numerous other items were up for grabs in the charity auction, all generously donated by local businesses, including: Anitone (10L of mineral supplement); Bindoon Tractors (whipper snipper); C-wise Anspatch Transport (50 cubic metres of carbon fertilizer); Elders merchandise (3 bags of Glucotrans); Borrello Beef (abbatoir fees); Midland Honda (Casey Stoner promotional gear); Muchea Irrigation (pressure pump); Dectomax (drench); Universal Initiatives (chook feeder & tie down straps); Statewide Steel (Hay Ring); Bundaleer Sheep (Wiltidam Killers); Cellerbrations Ginging (700ml Chivas Regal 12yrs old). Our deep appreciation to both the donors and the bidders, including Gingin Speckle Park, GK & GA Blair, L Chorley, M Princi, GW & NL Thomas, MY Khan, and IJ & BM Tubby.

Cattlemen bringing the black dog to heel
Michael Princi, Princi Butchers, Tungamah principal Garry Thomas, Black Dog Ride founder Steve Andrews and Elders Midland agent Preston Clarke. Photo from the Farm Weekly who've done a great write up on the Field Day here.

All up, an amazing $4265 was raised by a warm and generous community who, like many others, have been deeply affected by depression and suicide. The funds raised will support Lifeline Australia's Online Crisis Support chat service and help Mental Health First Aid Australia fund more instructors in our communites.

Steve summed the day up, "I left with the feeling that gradually we're making inroads into breaking down the taboo which surrounds talk of depression and suicide amongst our stoic farmers. I believe we are making a difference."

Our thanks and gratitude to Garry Thomas for organising the field day and bringing the community together for such an important cause.

You can let these great cattlemen know what you think of their hardwork here.