Bittersweet wedding held at family property in outback QLD
Sentimental wedding for Winton couple and their family
GETTING married on her husband-to-be's family property was a sentimental time for bride Bianca (nee West).
Marrying Josiah Phillott last month, the wedding was held on the Phillott's property, Carisbrooke Station, outside of Winton, in outback Queensland.
Having been through its trials and tribulations, it was an emotional time for the Phillott family.
"It is bitter-sweet for them going back out there ... It also bought back all those memories, it was hard for them but at the same time Charlie was so proud to have his kids be there at their home," Bianca said.
But the property goes way back in Bianca's family as well.
Bianca's grandparents on her mother's side, Mick and Joyce Malone, worked on the Carisebrook Station.
It was their first ever posting working together as a married couple.
After they worked there, Charlie Phillott - who would in many years time, become Bianca's grandfather-in-law, bought the property.
"It was such a special serendipitous memory ... my family was there before Josiah's," Bianca said.
"That was part of the drive to have it (the wedding) there.
A true cattleman, Bianca's grandfather Mick Maloney, sadly passed away five years ago. He was working on cattle stations a year before he died.
"He was one of those blokes who was working up until he 80 years old," Bianca said.
In honour of him, Josiah wore the tie-pin Mick wore when he married Joyce.
The wedding was filled with many other sentimental additions.
"My dress was made by the same dressmaker who made my mum's dress and from her wedding dress and lace from Nanna's dress," she said.
Sentimental feelings aside, Bianca and Josiah, who live in Charters Towers, chose to have the wedding at the Winton property so they could support the small town's economy that is facing tough times at the moment.
With 110 guests, every single guest except for Grandfather Charlie had to travel to Winton.
It meant guests had feeds at the pubs, sweets were bought at the bakery and accommodation businesses had a spike.
"That would have helped a lot of the Winton economy... we wanted to support the little local guys," Bianca said.
The couple met through rugby and have been together for six years before getting engaged in February last year.
They are parents to little Fletcher, who has just turned one.
Bianca, 30, is also seven months pregnant, with a second baby due in November.
"That made it interesting when we were traipsing around the countryside to try and get cool photos," she said.
Josiah, 23, said it was "pretty special" to have their wedding on a property that has been in his family for over 50 years.
Growing up on the farm, the land holds "half of his childhood memories".
"Just general farm work, helping Dad fencing, checking the waters every day to stuff but you just sum it up as farm work," he said.
A well-known grazing family, Josiah said he was "very proud" to be a Phillott.
Carisbrooke has seen it's fair share
THE DROUGHT hasn't been the only thing that has played havoc with Carisbrooke Station, Winton.
The 50,000-acre outback Queensland property has been in the limelight many times before.
The Phillott family were subject of media attention in 2014-2015 when Charlie Phillott snr fought the bank to get his farm back at the age of 81.
A long story, the short version is that Landmark at the time held the loan over the property. Landmark had entered an agreement with ANZ bank to take care of many of their loans.
Shortly into the deal, the ANZ halved the equity value of Carisbrooke, paving a way for the loan to subsequently go into default.
The Phillotts had never missed a payment, yet Carisbrooke was foreclosed and repossessed by the bank in March 2014.
Charlie snr's son, Charlie jnr and his wife, Penelope, and their family were living and managing the property at the time and were given 20 days to leave the property.
After 15 months of battling the bank, the Phillotts won their farm back, but it has been left abandoned and needs a lot of development.
The property is 85km from Winton, situated on a vast flat landscape filled with grass, red dirt and scrub trees on the red messa country of the Cory Range.
It was a tourism property, offering day and overnight tours for visitors to experience the outback.
The entrance is on top of a Jump Up, opening spectacular views of the William Valley below.
Tour visitors are shown through Aboriginal art in the some of the caves and on rock faces.
Tours are still operated on the property through the Red Dirt Tours company.
"We will get through the drought again"
CHARLIE Phillott (senior) has been a man of the land for all of his life and has seen many droughts over the years.
His property, Carisbrooke Station outside of Winton, is "very dry" at the moment.
Mr Phillott has not had permanent staff on the property since 2014.
After he got his property back from the bank in 2015, the land was very dry and there was not a need for any staff until it got good rain - and it still hasn't.
Mr Phillott lives in Winton and heads out there most days to look after the few cattle that graze on the land.
"We are only carrying a small number of cattle on it... it is not economically sound to go back on to it yet," he said.
"It's not sufficient to warrant people being there full-time."
Having owned the property for over 50 years, Mr Phillott has seen good and bad times.
He remembered the years in 1949-50, 1973-74 and 2000 as the good years.
"The rain was all over the area ... 2000 was quite a good year for a large area of country, it was extremely beneficial and wet," he said.
He said the current drought has been a "long time with very little rain".
"It is almost impossible to compare droughts because the situations of each drought are very different," he said.
"I would say it has been one of the longest periods with very little rainfall but I wouldn't like to say it is the worse one ... but it is very serious in many places."
In outback Queensland, rain can be hard to come by.
According to Bureau of Meteorology data, Winton's average annual rainfall is 411.7mm.
"We have to manage for dry times and dry years and droughts... It is necessary to take whatever precautions you can," Mr Phillott said.
"The kangaroos are a big problem, they consume a lot of feed from stock... Those things differ all the time, at the moment kangaroos are in very big numbers... That keeps the grass down and they are making management of the grass very difficult."
Despite these hard times, Mr Phillott will never lose faith as a grazier.
"The grazing industry, sheep and cattle, they are, I would think for the most of the time, they are still the backbone of Australia's burning power," he said.
"Perhaps sometimes mining contributes a lot but right through, it's the grazing income from sheep, cattle and crops, it is not only the basic income but also provides the basic food for the country.
"You can't judge it just on its financial return to the country but on the fact if we don't have it we are in big, big trouble.
"There is nothing more important than it in my opinion."
Mr Phillott expects
a break in the season in the next four to five months.
"I believe if we don't have some faith in these things and in the normal operation in the climate well then we lack the main thing, hope and belief, in this wonderful provision in our life," he said.
"There is no classification for country everywhere, people all have different ways and methods of combating dry times and trying to survive through them."