Queensland Men’s Festival
That final afternoon session of the Brisbane Men’s Festival was, indeed, highly significant.
All members of MATE attended BMF and, at the last session on Sunday afternoon, heeded the call (perhaps rashly says Ross Buckley) to keep the flame burning and organise a follow up festival the following year.
Garnered by the $600 profit from Mt Glorious the organisers chose Camp Koonjewarre at Springbrook in the Gold Coast hinterland as the venue and the name was changed to Queensland Men’s Festival (QMF) to reflect the move away from Brisbane.
A weekend in mid-October 1993 saw 54 men gather to explore, celebrate and share being male. It was larger in attendance than Mt Glorious and broke even financially.
“The organisers remember it as an enlivening, empowering and fun thing to have done. The festival itself seemed to go very well and, what we didn’t know, of course, is that we were laying the foundation for something that has gone on to become, by all accounts, really quite significant. None of us would have thought that twenty-five years later those early festivals we were involved in would still be going. Yet this must establish that they have been delivering very real benefits to a lot of men over a long period of time”.Ross Buckley, 2017
Each subsequent year men came forward to carry the flame and the energy of male connection into the next year. Some new men were enthralled at the depth and excitement of the weekend experience. Others just knew that this adventure had to keep happening. They ultimately became formally known as an Organising Committee with the responsibility of creating an event of substance, depth and relevance to men from all walks of life. Each Organising Committee came up with a fitting theme for the event.
Over the years this gathering has experienced a number of name changes including: Queensland Men’s Festival, Springbrook Men’s Festival, Pathways for Men, the Gold Coast Men’s Festival (unofficially) with Manhood being adopted in 2005. It relocated to Camp Bornhoffen in Numinbah Valley in 1999 where it continues to find its home.
Up until around 2000 proceeds of this gathering were directed to the Men’s Help Line (MHL) for its operational activity.
Manhood 2021 with a relevant theme of Roots – Reflections – Ripples was number 30 in this lineage. As such it was a significant distance peg in the life of the Mens Wellbeing organisation.