Carnamah's night of nights a tour de force

Claire TyrrellCountryman

Carnamah's landscape and its people transformed for one night of glamour at Opulence in the Outback on Saturday.

A one-off event held to celebrate the Australian Year of the Farmer, the evening drew 360 people from West Midlands farming communities and beyond.

Dressed up to the nines, farmers, community and agribusiness representatives enjoyed a five-course-meal, entertainment and fundraising activities.

The event raised at least $75,000 for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) and Saint John Ambulance.

Live and silent auctions on the night attracted strong interest from the crowd, with the top-selling item a trip to the Melbourne Cup which sold for $7000.

Opulence in the Outback was the brainchild of Carnamah resident Kylie Tremlett, who first thought of the idea 15 years ago.

Mrs Tremlett saw the Year of the Farmer as the ideal opportunity to put her idea into fruition.

"I really wanted to do something for the RFDS and for St John Ambulance, because I knew I couldn't be a volunteer myself," she said.

"We had to do something that was unique and would draw people in."

Preparation for the evening took about 18 months in total, with an eight member committee and numerous community members lending a hand.

The venue was a broadacre farm, owned by Kylie Tremlett's brother Tim Broun.

Countless hours went into preparing the site, which started as a cropped paddock.

"We poured gravel onto it, rolled it and poured a lot of water onto it to get it ready," Mrs Tremlett said.

The site was equipped with power and water to support a marquee, stage, toilets and air-conditioning.

Cover band Slim Jim and the Phatts played their last ever gig on the night, after 25 years of performing. Guest speaker Peter Hughes inspired the crowd with his story of surviving the 2002 Bali bombings.

The question on everybody's lips at the event was, 'Will there be another Opulence in the Outback?'

Mrs Tremlett could not answer this question, but said if there was she would not be running it.

"It depends if someone has got the energy or the drive," she said.

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