Family celebrates 100 years by wetting a line
YOU don’t usually hear about fishing competitions in the Central Highlands, but the Dillon family celebrated 100 years on their property by holding one.
Alpha’s Surbiton Station welcomed close to 300 people at the weekend for the George’s Hole Fishing Classic.
Elsie Dillon said it was the biggest competition they’d hosted after starting the event more than 10 years ago, which made it all the more special to celebrate the centenary.
Mrs Dillon moved to the property 41 years ago with her late husband Jack, and now runs it with the help of her son and daughter.
“It’s four generations of the Dillon family and it’s just continually moved down the generations,” she said.
“We’ve come through thick and thin and we are still here. We’ve seen a lot of change.”
Frank Dillon, who was the first on Surbiton Station in April 1919, was a “sheep man”, but now the family works with horses and cattle.
Everyone in Central Queensland was invited to the milestone celebration to take part in the competition, or simply camp at the water hole and enjoy the weekend.
There were two feature fishing events: the Jack Dillon Memorial and the Beau Gleeson Spirit of the Hole.
To mark this year’s milestone, the Dillon family also designed a t-shirt which they sold on the day.
“They were so popular, we couldn’t keep up,” Mrs Dillon said.
“It was unreal to look along the bank and see everyone with their shirts on, and the family atmosphere was amazing.”
Mrs Dillon said every time it was held, all proceeds were donated back to charity, and this year they chose to support the region’s schools.
Although they were yet to count up the total sum, she said the last event raised about $8000 on the day.
“It’s unreal to donate that sort of money,” Mrs Dillon said.
“We are involved heavily in community projects because it’s good to give back.
“Now having grandchildren, I find it really special to help out the schools and support the children.”
The fishing classic was started in 2007 as a unique fundraiser for the local branch of the National Party, which Mr Dillon was the president of.
“We have one of the best water holes in the district and we have so many people that we let come out and fish and camp, so we thought, why not hold a fishing competition,” Mrs Dillion said.
It has been a popular event ever since, but stopped after 2015 because of the drought.
Mrs Dillon said everyone was looking forward to this year’s event after the four-year break.
“It’s just a great community event supported by locals and this year we had people from a bit further travel here,” she said.
“It was unreal.”
A celebration cake was cut in the afternoon and the new property sign was unveiled.