No place like home
A BONDING initiative that started seven years ago continues to flourish and provide a welcome injection for the local economy.
More than 130 years ago the Cook family found their way to Stanthorpe - and in 2018 they'll find their way back.
"If you see a lot of red t-shirts flying around Stanthorpe on Saturday morning, don't be alarmed,” Randall Cook said.
Randall's the president of junior rugby union at the Gold Coast-based Bond Pirates these days, but grew up in Stanthorpe and retains an avid affinity with the area.
This will be the seventh year running he's brought close to 200 dads and their children into the district for a club fathers and sons getaway.
"The Father's Day thing is just coincidental. The trip coincides with Gold Coast Show weekend and pretty much the end of our season.
"It's a good weekend to get away for a few nights.
"We started doing it just as something different in order to help player retention.
"We thought it'd be good to get all the kids together, rather than just playing in their own teams.
"It's also great for all the dads, grandfathers and uncles who come along.
"It's a bonding session and the kids and parents get to know one another a bit better.”
Randall's parents Bob and Pam, who now live at the coast as well, still have a property at Whiskey Gully.
It's there the Pirates cohort venture for their weekend away from the hustle and bustle.
"My family moved to the district in the 1880s. I've got five or six generations of families either buried in Stanthorpe or Wilsons Downfall cemeteries.
"I still have some relatives up there though. A few distant ones. We lived there and I went to school there.
"We still take our kids there quite a lot and that's why we picked Stanthorpe.
"It's not that far away, we had the farm and we thought it was good to showcase local produce and products.”
He said it's also great to drag the city boys out bush.
"The kids who come up, not a lot of them have been out to the country before.
"They just love the freedom of running through the paddocks and climbing the rocks.
"It's a real novelty for them and they love it.
"We would spend about $10,000 while there.
"Lots of the families have come back and gone camping at Girraween as well.”
While around, they'll be doing a Race Around Town.
Randall said he's keen for the kids to have fun while here, but also learn about the history and importance of the area.
"We just have a lot of fun. We take the dads out on mystery safaris.”
Adventures that usually take them to local wineries and breweries, Randall said.
Next year they're hoping to come back and tee up a muck around game of rugby league or football.