Federal Member for Flynn, Ken O’Dowd, has always been passionate about the local community. Ken grew up on a farm near Bracewell, a rural community located west of Mt Larcom. While the Mt Larcom region has no doubt changed since Ken’s youth, the area still holds fond memories for our local MP. Gladstone News spoke with Ken about his childhood spent on the family farm and how the area and the Mt Larcom Show has evolved.

GN: From growing up on a farm near Bracewell to representing Flynn in Canberra, can you tell us where your interest in Politics came from?

Ken: Previously, my main interest was in sports clubs and our community. From there, my attention was drawn to national issues such as defence, border control and the economy. Thus, I joined the National Party. I eventually took an executive role within the party which lead me to stand as the LNP candidate for Flynn in the 2010 election.

GN: What are your favourite memories of growing up in the Mt Larcom area?

Ken: Growing up in Mt Larcom certainly holds great memories for my family and myself. Bracewell School, west of Mt Larcom was great. However, small with approximately 20 kids being the total enrolment. We all knew each other, knew their parents and knew exactly where they lived and what their farms produced. All the children played an important role on the farm, milking cows, feeding pigs, fencing, riding horses, growing crops of peanuts, potatoes, beans, peas and cattle fodder. Driving tractors at a young age was great, and it was hard to get my brother Robert off the tractors.

GN: How has the township of Mt Larcom changed since your childhood?

Ken: The township of Mt Larcom has changed a lot since my childhood. From dairy farms, cheese factories, poultry and pig farms the land is now more likely to run beef cattle and lifestyle blocks. It was a bustling town and very busy on any Friday when the farmers came to town to get their weekly or monthly supplies. The town was well supplied, it had at least three banks, a post office, butcher shop, pharmacy, two draper stores, newsagent, picture theatre, hospital, bakeries, hotel, ambulance station, hardware store, service station, and telephone exchange. There was little need to go to larger centres such as Gladstone or Rockhampton. Roads were rough and winding, and Mt Larcom could supply most items. A regular train service delivered produce and products to the town retailers. Every second week a pig and calf sale were held near the railway station which was well attended by farmers throughout the districts.

GN: The Mt Larcom Show is known as one of the best Agricultural shows in Queensland, what are your fondest memories of attending the show?

Ken: Since 1952, the Mt Larcom Show has grown steadily to what it is today. I must pay credit to all those people who made this possible over the past 80 years. I guess my fondest memories go back to my early days when side show ally entertained us with the merry go round, boxing tent and ‘knockem’s dodgem cars’ and of course the hot dogs were always on the menu, everyone in the district went to the Mt Larcom Show.