KEITH Urban’s concert before thousands of adoring fans, the global premiere of Daft Punk’s award-winning album Random Access Memories and now a world-title boxing bout.
The Narrabri shire, once known primarily for farming and more recently as a burgeoning mining area, is making a name for itself as the special events capital of the North West. Add to the list of one-off events a litany of annual crowd-pullers, such as Nosh on the Namoi and the Boggabri Drovers Campfire, and it is clear the shire’s new-found status is deserved.
And it is this growing reputation that Narrabri mayor Conrad Bolton and his council colleagues are desperate to continue building on in the coming years.
“I think that over the years that Narrabri has concentrated on providing some top grade community facilities,” Cr Bolton said.
“It’s not a matter of standing back and admiring the architecture, you’ve actually got to utilise those facilities as best you can.”
These special events have attracted thousands of visitors to Narrabri who otherwise would never have had a reason to cross into the shire’s boundary.
The economic benefits to local businesses from these streams of guests are obvious, but they also reduce the burden of community-owned assets, like the Crossing Theatre on, ratepayers.
“(The Crossing Theatre) has been a drain on the community,” Cr Bolton said. “The year before last it was about $1.3 million and last year it was about $1 million.
“But we’re going to be retiring the debt on the Crossing Theatre in September, which was pulling about $600,000 (in interest) from the community.”
The Crossing Theatre will be the scene of a WBC international super featherweight title fight tomorrow night between Australian pugilist Corey McConnell and Ryan Sermona from the Philippines.