AS the Bush Bible goes to print ladies will be packing and pampering, and gentleman dusting off their little worn tuxedos, ready to flock to the Darling Downs town of Goondiwindi this weekend for the Tie Up Your Black Tie Ball.
Guests from throughout the east coast will converge on the border town for the inaugural event which is being held in honour and aid of the work the Tie Up The Black Dog Committee do throughout rural and regional Queensland.
The ball idea stemmed from a coffee date with a group of young women in Goondiwindi, and the realisation that black tie events in the region had become a thing of the past.
With strict black tie dress code and high expectations for behaviour at the ball the committee is keen to reinvigorate the country social scene with some old school, country glamour.
Tickets for the ball sold out two weeks prior to the end of sales, more tickets were released and sold out within a day.
“The response has been incredible, we still have people trying to find tickets,” said event organiser Eliza McInnerney.
The event has reached more than 100,000 people on Facebook.
The Tie Up The Black Dog Committee started in 2007 with their first event here in Goondiwindi.
“We simply wanted to make people from all walks of life, all occupations aware of the vital importance of good mental health, and by having public events that everyone could attend, increase understanding of the clinical aspects of depression in particular, but other mental illnesses as well, and to reduce stigma,” said Mary Woods.
“While it remains difficult for "well" people to understand, depression is quite widespread and generally totally treatable, hence the importance of our speakers who talk about their lived experience and recovery.”
In 2015 the Tie Up The Black Dog message spread via photographer Edwina Robertson’s viral photograph and crowd funding campaign that went world-wide. Edwina will officially open the ball and toast to the work of the committee.
“The funds Edwina has raised we believe need to go back to Blackall and other similarly drought-affected communities. If there is a way we can co-contribute to work that is already going on up there and extend or add value, we are keen to do that,” Mary said.
The Goondiwindi region has had a stark reminder of the importance of mental health education, communication and services with two locals suffering from mental health issues now listed as missing persons.
The families and police continue the search for Terry Lloyd and Matthew Woods.
It has been 50 days since beloved father and grandfather 51-year-old Terry Lloyd was reported missing.
Mr Lloyd was last seen in Goondiwindi on November 26, where it is believed he intended to visit a hospital in Toowoomba. While the official police search for Mr Lloyd has wound down, the search for Mr Woods continues. 20-year-old Matthew Woods, who has also now been reported missing was last seen near the Goondiwindi Showgrounds on Monday January 4.
Mr Woods has severe depression and his family is concerned for his physical and mental welfare.
Making the Tie Up Your Black Tie Ball timely indeed.
“There can be no doubting the good work done by the Tie up the Black Dog Committee to date,” said Goondiwindi Mayor Graeme Scheu.
“The introduction of a ball can only add to this good work and with support from all sectors of the community it should be a very enjoyable social and awareness event.”
Serious fun for a seriously good cause.