GOANNA PULLING PIONEERS: Runner-up in the goanna pulling from 1985, Bob Jarvis, of Brunswick Heads.
GOANNA PULLING PIONEERS: Runner-up in the goanna pulling from 1985, Bob Jarvis, of Brunswick Heads. The Daily Examiner

A show of spirit and strength

AS DAWN breaks on Wooli on Sunday, September 30, the population has swelled to more than double its usual size.

People have come from all over the country to take part in the small town's long-running tradition: The Australian National Goanna Pulling Championships.

A part from the sun, surf and relaxed lifestyle, the goanna pulling has been drawing people to Wooli since 1985 when Paul Jones, of Ulmarra, was the first Open/Heavyweight champion.

But a lot has changed since then, according to Wooli local Dell Juknaitis, who has been watching from the sideline since the beginning.

"We used to have a wonderful time before all the rules and regulations," she said.

"Goanna pulling finished at three, then we'd go down to the pub and there'd be a wet T-shirt competition."

While the event may have changed a over time, it still brings the small community together in a show of true spirit and strength.

"It's such a big thing for this town; it brings people from all over Australia, they come back year after year," she said.

While she's never put the strap around her neck to pull like a goanna, one year Dell joined the Townsville tug-of-war team, and left the Wooli sports field victorious.

Dell has joined the committee and is excited to see the event from the other side.

"We had a meeting (yesterday) morning and now we've got to paint the ground and map out all the stalls," she said.

This weekend, the group will work on the grounds all day before adding the final touches and organising people on Sunday morning next week.



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