As the months grow hotter across the state, so too does a creative battle between two passionate rural communities. Meet our colourful competitors involved in this year’s Queensland’s Loudest Town challenge, inspired by some very special Hear and Say families.
With a recorded population of just 299 people, Aramac is located over 100km south-west of Longreach, and punches well above its weight when it comes to rallying behind its local families.
Seven-year-old resident, Emmy inspired Aramac’s entry into the 2019 Loud Shirt Day challenge to find Queensland’s loudest town, after she was diagnosed with a permanent hearing loss in both ears shortly after birth. Led by Emmy’s mum, Kerryn, last year’s celebrations included a highly successful barbecue fundraising breakfast, which saw attendees travelling upwards of 50 kilometres to take part in the event.
The tremendous financial and emotional toll of the relentless lack of rain could not dampen the incredible spirit and generosity of this mighty little town. An amazing $9,337 was raised and the runner-up crown for Queensland’s Loudest Town ultimately earned – a title Aramac will be battling it out for again in 2020.
Also contending for the Loudest Town crown is the rural community of Wowan, located 70 kilometres south-west of Rockhampton. Stepping up to the challenge for the first time, Wowan has a recorded population of 216 people – and it’s hoped that many of those residents will soon be out in force wearing Wowan’s own official Loud Shirt, supporting children born deaf or hard of hearing.
Leading the charge is Wowan resident Lysandra, whose youngest son, Arthur was born with hearing loss in both ears. Now an inquisitive and bubbly two-year-old, Arthur has fortnightly listening and spoken language therapy lessons at Hear and Say via telepractice, and is making beautiful strides learning to listen and speak with the use of hearing aids.
Many of Arthur’s extended family members live locally, helping to foster a wonderful sense of community – something Lysandra said they’ll be making the most of as Wowan battles it out for the coveted title.