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Then, the Sunday recovery session is when “everyone goes a bit feral,” Toni laughs.While the not-for-profit committee is only concerned with raising enough funds to put on the ball, they saved for the past three years to donate ,000 towards a new playground for Richmond.“The town was really crying out for it,” Toni says.

Original Spouse Hunters Club committee member, Toni Anning, says it all just started as a bit of fun.

“It’s not really about looking for spouses,” she says.

“It’s just a great community event.” “We get 18 to 80-year-olds coming to party and it’s so nice to see everyone all dressed up!

Back in the days before Tinder, the folk of Richmond in Outback Queensland had to get creative when they wanted to find a date.

If there was an app available in 1982, it would have showed the closest potential beau was a mere 400 kilometres away. well, yeah, you can still have your beer and Bundy Rum.

With virtual winks and nudges an unconceived notion, a bunch of (self-described) socially deprived bushies had the idea to hold a ball to lure potential Romeos and Juliets to town. Careful to distance itself from the rowdy image of some B&S (Bachelor and Spinster) Balls, the proudly old-fashioned Spouse Hunters Ball is one of the biggest events on the outback social calendar. It’s about swapping the Wranglers for dinner suits and planning outfits and hairstyles with all the precision and dedication of a bride with a short deadline.The objective is simple: to lure the young and young at heart to find their perfect match in the west. With three full days of festivities, all-inclusive food and alcohol, shuttle buses and free camping at the showground, the Spouse Hunters Ball is definitely worth driving for.” After nine years of holding the annual event during the ‘80s, and with everyone then married off, the club put the decorations back on the shelf.It wasn’t until 2006 when some local kids unearthed a box full of classic ‘80s photos that the ball received a right swipe back to life.Now, every September the Richmond Racecourse transforms into a dating showground, decked out in theme (last year was a fairy-light encrusted Enchanted Garden), and the Lions Club cooks up a sumptuous feast to keep energy levels up for the dance floor.Whether you’re looking for a farmer who wants a wife, or just curious to see how they do it in the west, nothing compares to a bush ball for boot-skootin’ fun.


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