Prisoners help thousands celebrate Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival

The annual Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival attracts thousands of national and international visitors each year with attractions ranging from a triathlon and horse races to live music and best butt competitions. Behind the scenes, a group of 12 hard-working prisoners from the Julia Creek Work Camp have been instrumental in making it happen.

Peter Hall, General Manager of the Townsville Correctional Centre, which supervises the Work Camp, said the 2019 festival that was held in April was a particular challenge given the devastating floods that swept through North Queensland two months prior.

“The Work Camp prisoners worked tirelessly to prepare the site for the thousands of visitors and ensure the festival went off as smoothly as possible and then help pack it down,” Mr Hall said.

“Queensland Corrective Services (QCS) recognises the importance of community service as an opportunity for low-security prisoners to make reparation to the community harmed by their offending behaviour and to develop employment skills.

“The assistance provided at Julia Creek is an excellent example of the QCS Work Program providing a benefit to the community and preparing prisoners for successful reintegration into the community.”

Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival committee president Stephen Malone said the festival would struggle to survive without the support of the Work Camp, which has been assisting for the past five years.