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Australian Cane Cutting Championships

Voted 108 on RACQ 150 Things to do in Queensland
27th June, 2010

The back-breaking work of hand cutting cane was regarded as the hardest, dirtiest but most lucrative seasonal work available. Before mechanical harvesters became widespread in the early 1970's, a good cane cutter could earn three times the average wage, and the money bought people from far and wide to the sugar-cane fields of north Queensland. A few "old-timers" can still swing the blade however, and their skills are put on show each year at the small town of Dalbeg, 90km west of Ayr, where they host the Australian Hand Cane Cutting Championships. Around 300 friends, family and curious backpackers cheer on the cane cutters who come from as far afield as Cairns and Proserpine to compete. They're required to cut through 1.5 tonnes of cane against the clock.

The population of Dalbeg would swell by 200 during the cane harvesting season, now 6 people do the same job with harvesters and trucks.

 

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