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Central West Queensland since 1923
Central West Queensland

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18 November, 2020

Channel Country captured for national calendar

QUEENSLAND’S Channel Country has achieved national recognition after a Windorah woman’s shot of the bioregion was one of 13 photographs, including the cover, selected to feature in the Bureau of Meteorology’s (BOM) 2021 calendar.

By Hamish Hart

Flowing photograpy...Helen Commens was rewarded with a spot in the 2021 BOM calendar after capturing the beauty of Queensland's Channel Country.

Since its inception more than a decade ago, the Bureau’s calendar competition has encouraged photographers from across the nation to capture the awe-inspiring scenery that Australia has to offer, with the theme for the 2021 competition being “weather, climate, water, and ocean services”.

More than 1,400 entries were recorded for this year’s competition which was narrowed down to 13 photographers from small towns and large cities across Australia.

Locations featured include Windorah and Brisbane (Queensland); Parliament House in Canberra (Australian Capital Territory); Melbourne and Mildura (Victoria); Sydney, Perisher, Port Macquarie and Oberne Creek (New South Wales); Cassidys Bay (Tasmania); Kununurra (Western Australia); Papunya (Northern Territory).

The majestic Outback Queensland photograph was snapped by Helen Commens from inside an R22 mustering helicopter near her station of Ourdel, located west of Windorah.

Ms Commens’ photography portfolio has been featured in calendars for rural branches and charities such as Pursehouse Rural and Drought Angels, and for the third time in just over a decade, will be displayed in BOM’s national calendar.

“I made it into the 2010 and 2012 BOM calendars,” Ms Commens said. “It’s hard to get in, but it’s definitely exciting and good to be featured again.

“When BOM rang me and let me know I had made it, I had to keep it a secret for months which was hard because locals and tourists alike love it when they see Outback photos get in.”

The Ourdel station owner said she wanted her photograph of the Channel Country to shine a light on the luscious scenery tourists may miss out on during their visits to the Outback.

“I wanted to show how amazing the Channel Country is,” Ms Commens said. “People drive through Windorah and see the town as a dry place.

"The aerial perspective of the photo helps show the importance of western rivers and catchment areas. It gives you a visual perspective and shows what amazing places we have on our doorstep.

“Western Queensland has beautiful areas and it’s good to see the Outback get that national recognition.”

Community Engagement Manager for BOM, Brooke Leung, congratulated Helen on capturing the unique and beautiful perspective of Australian weather and landscape.

“This image stood out for a number of reasons. It portrays optimism as floods like this come between years of drought, providing much-needed green feed for cattle stations,” Ms Leung said.

“The photo also shows weather from a different perspective. It’s aesthetically very beautiful, with the intricate channels of water and new growth spreading like bright green tentacles across the vast Australian landscape.

“Tens of thousands of pairs of eyes will see this image and many of them will wonder about where such a beautiful picture was taken. That can only increase interest in the region.”

Ms Commens’ photo will feature on the July page of the calendar which can be purchased by visiting

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