Third generation bullocky Alex Slater will be an integral part of Woolgoolga's 125th birthday celebrations on June 9. Photo: Trevor Veale / Coffs Coast Advocate
Third generation bullocky Alex Slater will be an integral part of Woolgoolga's 125th birthday celebrations on June 9. Photo: Trevor Veale / Coffs Coast Advocate Trevor Veale

Driving toward Woolgoolga's big birthday bash

THE Slaters have been in Woolgoolga for almost as long as it has been a town, so it's only fitting third generation bullocky Alex Slater will be an integral part of the 125th birthday celebrations.

The timber expert is carrying on the family tradition of bullock driving - moreso now for entertainment than industry necessity.

He will be driving a team of 10 bullocks through the streets of Woolgoolga during the 125th Anniversary parade on June 9.

"I did the 100th celebrations too - I don't know if I'll still be around for the 150th," Mr Slater laughed.

Alex's grandfather Thomas cut timber in the area in the 1900's and used to load up a team of bullocks with logs to move them down to the old Woolgoolga jetty for loading on to ships.

His son, Alex's father, Viv, took over the family business and from the age of about five Alex was tagging along learning the ropes.

"I've basically done it all my life," he said.

"This land (at Emerald Heights) has been in the Slater name for 100 years.

"We did our last working bullock run in 1998, but I've still kept some around to do shows, and for a bit of mucking around."

Woolgoolga Rotary president Pamela Fayle said the birthday parade was shaping up to be a showstopper.

"In Woolgoolga's timber town days, bullock teams rumbled down River St and along Beach St with great regularity," Mrs Fayle said.

"For the younger generation, this may be a once in a lifetime opportunity to see a real bullock team as part of our 125th birthday parade."

Instead of pulling logs, the bullock team will lead a tractor and float carrying the Bullock Belles, dressed in heritage costumes.

She said many local organisations have put their hands up to decorate a float, or otherwise help with the celebrations.

"It is very much a community event without any external funding and many organisations are really keen to join the party."  

The Woolgoolga Heritage Walk will be officially opened on Sunday, June 9, prior to the parade, along Beach St, and that will be followed by celebrations on the Beach Reserve.

Click here to send an email for more information or phone 6654 7700 or 0401 022 951.



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