31 December, 2016. 15:03

ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact

IT’S been a big year for us at The Betoota Advocate, from our various appearances on the ABC’ to our partnership with HarperCollins to publish our first of many almanacks.

We thank you for helping us grow from a modest country rag to a national news source – covering the biggest stories from entertainment to politics. See you in 2017!

ENTERTAINMENT, traffic and the best vantage points to ring in 2017. We’ve got it all in our guide to Betoota’s 2017 New Year’s Eve celebrations.


FRENCH electro duo Justice and Aussies Jimmy Barnes, Tame Impala and Spiderbait are headlining Betoota’s New Year’s Eve musical entertainment.

The artists will perform on in the beer pit out the back of the Betoota Hotel until they are too drunk to sing anymore.

The ticket-only show is also being streamed on The Betoota Advocate’s YouTube channel, which will also feature live performances – including spoken bush poetry from our Editor Clancy Overell and Father John Clayton playing Christmas Carols on the Uniting Church organ.

Betoota’s fireworks will be accompanied by music by DJ Bretto, who mixed two soundtracks to synchronise with the 3pm and midnight displays.

“Betoota’s New Year’s Eve is such an iconic event, so I was thrilled to be asked to be involved,” Bretto said. “It’s one of those rare moments when the whole Diamantina comes together and the eyes of the world are on Betoota.”

Fans of Tame Impala and Spiderbait started to arrive earlier this week to snap up a spot in the Betoota Hotel beer pit for tonight's show. PHOTO: Imran Gashkori
Fans of Tame Impala and Spiderbait started to arrive earlier this week to snap up a spot in the Betoota Hotel beer pit for tonight’s show. PHOTO: Imran Gashkori


THE Birdsville Developmental Road will be closed to traffic between 11pm and 1am as Harry Whippett of Blackbulloo Station moves his weaners to the Browns Creek Reserve so they don’t get spooked by the fireworks.

“Last year, I lost a few to shock,” said Whippett.

“I’m not taking any chances this year.”

Camel trains will be running from the CBD to the race course for free all night. PHOTO: Errol Parker/AAP
Camel trains will be running from the CBD to the race course for free all night. PHOTO: Errol Parker/AAP

The Betoota Hotel roof, which is being turned into a vantage­ point for revellers, will be closed to tourists between 11am and 4am and other roads in the CBD, including Daroo St, will shut between 7pm and 4am.

Some streets closer to the race track will be shut between 2pm and 4am as large numbers of partygoers are expected to converge on the area.

Betoota’s only policeman urged revellers to borrow his paddywagon if they need to get around town as he plans to write himself off on black rats.

Extra camels will be carting people to the CBD and North Betoota from 2pm.

Passengers won’t be able to board camels at the Betoota Hotel between 6pm and 1am.


IT’S a hundred dollar view, so it’s fitting it has been snapped up by a local pastoralist.

E H Pearson Pastoral Company founder Jack Pearson’s 2002 Toyota Landcruiser Sahara cruised into Betoota yesterday to grab himself a direct view of the Betoota Hotel, parking on the corner of Haddon and Daroo street.

Jack Pearson's 2012 Toyota Landcruiser with it's M249 SAW light machine gun. He claims to have shot 11 cattle rustlers in 2014. PHOTO: Clancy Overell
Jack Pearson’s 2012 Toyota Landcruiser with it’s M2 Browning heavy machine gun. He claims to have shot 41 cattle rustlers in 2014. PHOTO: Clancy Overell

Mr Pearson, 71, currently sits at number 45 899 on the BRW Rich List with an estimated worth of more than $234 000.

When he purchased the top-of-the-range Landcruiser in 2003 for a cool $AUD 15 000, it was the town’s most expensive car.

It has one 12.7mm M2 Browning heavy machine gun which Mr Pearson uses to shoot cattle rustlers and feral pigs – it also has a 10-man tent that reportedly sleeps eight people.

It took a crew of 3 ringers to wash it and an estimated annual upkeep cost of $1500, plus insurance, registration and ammunition.

Mr Pearson decided to buy a machine gun on the black market after he noticed his cattle were going missing. In June, he shot and killed over a dozen cattle rustlers in one afternoon after he caught them stealing some of his three-year-old steers.

“Do you have any idea was a .50 cal projectile does to a human? It’s a bullet that was designed to immobilise cars and tanks,” says Mr Pearson.

“They turn people inside out. Police weren’t even able to identify them. They just pushed their corpses up in a heap with a D6 and burnt them.” said Mr Pearson.


The best places to watch the show...
The best places to watch the show…

1. Ellis Carter’s back yard will have sausages and bread from 6pm but you can’t really see the fireworks.

2. Browns Creek beach is a good spot because you don’t have to get out of the water to watch the show but it’s apparently an alcohol free zone.

3. Corner of Haddon and Daroo Street is always popular so get in early if you want a good spot. It’s close to the pub and the night’s entertainment.

4. Teeta Waterhole is traditionally where the kids from Betoota Central High School go to get high but over new years, it’s slowly becoming a family destination.

Wherever you are, we here in Betoota wish you a happy new year and good luck for 2017.


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