70 years of Rathdowney Campdraft

Tony Ward, Isa Seeney and Des Jackson.
Tony Ward, Isa Seeney and Des Jackson.

When Isa Seeney (nee Robinson) looks across the Rathdowney Memorial Grounds, she sees a lifetime of memories dating back to when the local campdraft started back in 1952.

Her father Max, uncle Alex and grandfather Alex Senior were among locals who helped establish the iconic Rathdowney Memorial Campdraft.

She treasures the cake stand trophy her uncle won in 1956, the photo of when she won the Maiden Draft in 1971 when her dad was grounds President and memories of 1977, when she won the Novice Draft in honour of her father.

Des Jackson is another local who remembers vividly when the local draft started.

“The Robinsons started it and all the rest of us fell into it, then,” he said.

“They were riding home from competing at the Boonah Campdraft and reckoned Rathdowney should have a draft too.

“You’ve got to be interested in something over the years, and I’ve done something every year – now I donate trophies.”

Mr Jackson and the Robinsons are among local faces to feature on a 70th anniversary shirt designed by Tony Ward from the Rathdowney & District Memorial Grounds Association.

Mr Ward, who also has historic connections to the local draft, created the shirts to mark the 70th anniversary after the 2022 event had to be cancelled due to sodden grounds.

Also featured on the shirt are Life Member Gary Overton, current President Andrew Buchanan, his daughter Lily Buchanan and one of the founders, Col McIntyre.

There is a photo from the 50-year anniversary of founders who were still alive at that point, including Tony Ward’s uncle Felix Ward, Des Jackson, Eddie Ashton, Brian Drynan, Patron Ray Drynan, Liam Moloney, Francis Mylett, John Markwell, Col McIntyre and Jim Salisbury.

The shirt also features Isa Seeney, her father Max, uncle Alex and brother Fred and Patron Ray and wife Jessica Drynan.

“It’s a way of celebrating 70 years without letting it go by the wayside,” Mr Ward said.

The draft, which remains the key fundraiser for the grounds, is now set for 4-5 March 2023.

For more information contact Tony Ward on 0407 827 312 or visit Rathdowney Memorial Campdraft on Facebook.

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