A cracker of a launch

By MIKARLA THURECHT

IT took six years to plan, seven months to build and just a few seconds for residents to deliver their verdict on the new Austadium.

To the delight of its anxious organisers at the weekend, people loved it.

Almost 1000 people gathered at the Gracemere Saleyards on Saturday for the opening of the $2 million Austadium.

The facility was welcomed to the region in true CQ style with a great big shindig.

Country crooner Adam Harvey performed, fireworks lit the sky, Pony Express riders tempted gravity and ute owners proudly drove their beasts in a parade.

Rockhampton District Saleyards Board chairman Bruce McCamley said he was thrilled to hear the stadium had also been given the thumbs up from performers: "All the performers ? from Adam Harvey to Chris Saunders ? said the acoustics were good.''

Member for Rockhampton Robert Schwarten said Austadium would be suitable for hosting rodeos, livestock breed shows and equestrian events with 78 extra stables.

The stadium can seat 2000 people for events like rodeos and 4000 for concerts.

Member for Fitzroy Jim Pearce said $6 million worth of improvements had been undertaken at the complex in recent years, making it one of the country's major selling centres.

The State Government contributed $1.5 million to the project. Mr McCamley said work on the third stage of the project ? finishing new cattle yards ? would continue.



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