Fashions still Number One at Moree Picnics

FASHIONS on the Field were all the go at Moree picnics exactly 70 years ago – and the only things that seem to have changed over the decades are the outfits and the styles.

In 1947, The North West Champion reported: “Suits and woollen frocks were again prominent. Mrs Janice Thompson, of Bugilbone Station, Burren Junction, wore a smart lightweight wool suit of a fawn shade, featuring rouleau work on the jacket. She carried a turquoise coat and wore matching bowler. She was with Miss Joyce Deakins, whose black woollen suit was worn with a black off-the-face hat trimmed in blue. Mrs Percy King, of Hawthorn, Garah, wore a huntsman green costume. With her was Mrs Frank Bucknell, of Mungindi, who chose an all-brown ensemble. The club secretary’s wife, Mrs Ken Livingston, wore a jacket suit of aqua wool under a full-length musquash coat. Her off-face style hat was aqua, also”.

Now, 70 years and a million outfits later, Fashions on the Field is still the major drawcard at round one of bush racing’s Golden Triangle,  says milliner Penelope Haddrill.

Penelope’s creations have topped scores of well-dressed women Australia-wide, but when it comes to putting stylish outfits together, she staunchly believes that no-one beats our local ladies.

Having grown up in the district, Penelope admits she’s probably a bit biased, but is thrilled to be returning to her home town to judge the highly coveted Moree picnics races Fashions on the Field competition on Saturday.

“The Moree picnics are my favourite races. I have very fond memories of the event, even as a little girl playing with all the other kids, collecting used betting tickets and marvelling at all mum’s glamourous friends,” Penelope said.

Categories at this year’s races include Best Dressed Lady, Best Dressed Man, Best Dressed Couple and the Millinery Award.

Penelope says she will have her eye out for ladies who “look confident and comfortable in their outfit”.

“The key is to keep it classic, but with a modern edge,” she suggests.


The Moree Picnic Races highly coveted Fashions on the Field Competition.

“Most importantly, a winning outfit is one that gels, is suitable for the weather and looks comfortable in the surroundings – sometimes an outfit that is fabulous at the Flemington racetrack is not the right outfit for a country picnic race meeting.”

And it’s certainly worth being on point this year, with Fashions on the Field organiser Vivien Clyne armed with an extremely attractive prize package.

“The prizes this year are amazing, and include four return flights to Brisbane thanks to Fly Corporate,” Vivien said.

“Beauty Matters and Assef’s are, as always, our very generous major sponsors, and many local businesses have contributed to the day.”

Vivien agreed that winners would include seasonally appropriate fashion choices, with winter weight millinery and stockings a must for ladies.

She also reiterated that men must wear a coat and tie to attend the night function.

“The Moree picnic races really are synonymous with style and it’s always so exciting each year to see what outfits emerge,” she said.

“And we love seeing the men dress up also; you’d be surprised how well so many of our local blokes scrub up once you wipe the grease off.”

Vivien reminds racegoers that Fashions on the Field nominations will occur promptly between 12pm and 2.30pm, and that no late nominations will be accepted.

Tickets to Saturday’s Moree picnics are on sale now at Pitman Deakin on Balo Street  or online at

Tickets range from $15 for day entry only, $60 for members and $70 for non-members, including entry, marquee luncheon and evening trackside dinner dance.

Story and Image: Georgina Poole

For a full Golden Triangle Timeline – a work in progress – go to