From Bathurst, With Love


Sometimes, at an Australian country pub, unexpected things happen. Angus Kennelly explains.

Omnia Vincit Amor – love conquers all things, although, often it does not. This phrase takes in some big words, the kind of words either a fool or a politician would use with any sort of confidence. It captures, in essence, the human spirit, because if we didn’t believe in such a notion, there would be no reason for being.

But on one occasion, in a country pub, love did conquer all.

It was at the Edinboro Castle in Bathurst, 200 kilometres west of Sydney, and the DK Pool Club was hosting a Mardi Gras event. There was a myriad of colour throughout the ‘Eddie,’ it was like looking through a kaleidoscope.

That night there was a fashion parade and the runway was open to all. Once the show started the sea of colour overwhelmed the make-shift platform.

What followed was something I don’t think many have experienced before… there was a sense of absolute freedom amongst the crowd, the kind some describe after a spiritual epiphany.

Mostly, we live in a world where it’s a crime to express oneself. But once the show began you were a criminal for not expressing yourself.

As a drag queen strutted down the runway in her vibrant clothes, a rugby club cheered in admiration.

A gay man was able to walk confidently, in an outlandish outfit, and receive a tsunami of support from the sea of colour.

At a pub in Bathurst, for a short moment in time, there was no such thing as gender and there was no such thing as sexuality and there was no such thing as race – there was only love.

Everyone transcended to a heightened state, all individuals became a complete expression of themselves. These moments are rare. And such sensations of unity are even rarer.

Everyone celebrated individuality.

Even more colour burst forth when a big, burly, red-headed-boy young man raised on a farm outside of Dunedoo jumped onto the runway.

In a sudden fit of fever, the young man – intoxicated by love (with maybe a little extra assistance) – and inspired by freedom, stripped down to his Bonds briefs and marched down the runway.

It was a wonderful and foreign sight, a farmer’s son, a drag queen and a flamboyant gay man dancing together on an old wooden table.

They were submerged in the sea of colour, and baptised.

When they emerged they were clean, sexuality and gender washed away, revealing to us, the crowd, what the future may hold if we cleanse ourselves of prejudice and bathe in acceptance.

And with that, the moment was over, the sea dispersed and everybody returned to their mundane lives where love does not conquer all.

I have seen the future, and it is a world where gender and sexuality are obsolete.

Angus Kennelly graduated from journalism at Bathurst in 2017. He's spent 2018 studying Public Relations, and hails from Sydney.