Food, Glorious Food!!

“Taste It” Local Produce Food Stalls

Killarney’s Southern Downs area produces the most amazing food and this year we are giving everyone the chance to taste it!

Taste the best produce from Brass Monkey Brew HouseThe Bramble PatchMt Stirling OlivesStanthorpe Cheese and Jersey Girls CafeBallandean Estate Wines, Hughes Honey, Jo & Co (Iced & Gourmet Teas) and Killarney Butchery.  You can make up a platter or buy a cooler bag to take some home with you.

Food Vendors

You don’t need to bring your own picnic, our food vendors have got you covered!


Warwick’s Gardens Galore use all local produce in their Gem of the Down’s Steakburger, Pulled Pork Rolls and much, much more.

Pietro’s Pizza

Pietro’s Pizza prepare and cook their pizzas fresh! Order when you arrive for a time to suit you.
Plus Charlie’s Ice Cream, Sam’s Old Style Russian Fudge and Coconut Ice and Peck’s Mobile Coffee …

Community Food Stalls

Many Killarney groups are fundraising for their community projects with yummy food stalls.

The Girl’s Brigade have Scones, Jam & Cream; Red Cross have Old Fashioned Fruit Salad & Ice Cream; and the Killarney Show & Rodeo Society have Mal’s Loaded Spuds! Yum!! 

Entertainment Programme

We have some great activities lined up all day for the 2018 Killarney Picnic Basket Day:

Kid’s Activities
Face painting 11am to 2pm
Teddy bears picnic 12-1pm
Sand Wizard – all day
Kite flying  – all day
Musicians – all day featuring Blue Violets, Bridget O’Shannessy, 8 Second Ride, Bruce Halter
Artists exhibition and demonstrations – featuring Dawn Head-Rose , Dianne Kelly,  Loretta Grayson, Paul Stumkat

Raffle and Silent Auction all day closing for draws at  2:30pm

Wickham’s commitment to a thriving community

It’s hard to imagine Killarney without the Wickhams. They are highly visible. The pioneering family’s enormous fleet of refrigerated trucks travel the highways daily. More than 50 locals work on their potato and onion farms, and in their packing and processing sheds smack in the middle of town.

But it’s their less visible presence that keeps the tight-knit, rural community’s heart beating.

In the 1950s brothers, Peter and Angus Wickham started growing and packing potatoes in the fertile red soil of the Falls, Killarney. Their potato empire grew, along with their passion for the tiny town that would be home to their children, and grandchildren.

Their family’s commitment to producing superior quality potatoes and onions for Coles Supermarket aligned with their commitment to Killarney’s prosperity.

Peter and his children have kept a keen eye on the horticulture industry, looking for opportunities to expand and evolve their businesses. They have applied the same strategic focus to their numerous board positions, helping guide the sustainability of the Killarney Co-op, Killarney Memorial Aged Care, the Killarney Recreational Club, the Killarney Show Society and the Warwick Credit Union, just to name a few.

Peter Wickham’s daughter, Kerr-Ann and her husband Haydn Lamb are born and bred locals committed to Wickham Farms and their community.

Peter’s daughter, Kerri-Ann Lamb, who is breaking new ground in the male-dominated horticultural industry, says her family’s commitment to Killarney is unwavering.

“We are embedded in this community,” she said.

“It’s our family; we derive our income from this land. We want our community to be strong and to thrive.”

Loaded potatoes with rainforest on the side

There’s more than a smidge of the environmentalist in Killarney potato farmer Mal Smith. Perhaps it’s his genetic makeup.

Mal grows chemical-free Sebago, Kipfler and Pinkeye potatoes on his 230-hectare farm near Queen Mary Falls, in Killarney, known for its rich red volcanic soil.

His father Sam moved to the district in the 1930s when the region was felled for timber. The native hoop pine and cedar were popular with furniture makers.

Mal recounts how his father would tell the timber getters not to fell the large trees on his property. When asked why, Sam said, “someone might want to look at them one day”. And indeed they do.

Sam, aged 94 years, still wields the hoe on the property’s expansive vegetable garden each day and sees Killarney’s future in tourism.

His son Mal agrees. His father’s guardianship of the big trees has retained a 300-acre patch of virgin rainforest on their property that is a drawcard for both scientists and bushwalkers.

Mal is also a great supporter of the Killarney picnic basket day where his iconic loaded potatoes are a feature of visitor’s picnic spreads.

The last of the cream

Up beyond Queen Mary Falls, over by the rainforest, Ken Watts, made cream. In fact, in 1991, Ken’s lush Killarney mountaintop property saw the last cream delivery in Australia depart his dairy.

Ken’s son Darryl, who with partner Miriam, still operates the dairy, said Ken didn’t strive to be the last cream producer in the country.

“He couldn’t get a dairy buyer to come up here to pick up the milk, so he had to keep making cream and run it down to Dairyfields in Warwick,” Darryl explained.

Finally, in 1991 a buyer agreed to bring collect the milk from his dairy and that was the end of the cream.

Darryl is the fourth generation dairy farmer to rise at four and brave the mountain’s cold misty winter mornings to milk.

They have a mixed herd that includes Fresians, Illawarras, Jerseys, Swiss Browns and an Ayrshire calf.

Like their neighbouring beef and potato farmers, the Watts’ family thank the rich volcanic soil and temperate climate for the Killarney region’s strong history of fresh milk, cream and butter production.

Quilting is like therapy

It’s a sunny Tuesday morning in the Killarney Anglican Church. The Killarney Country Quilters are puzzling over how to get the binding around tight corners on a star-shaped table piece.

Their table is strewn with colourful quilts and embroidered aprons created for the Killarney picnic basket day.

Today’s group of five vivacious and cheerful ladies are carrying on the tradition started by its 16 original members in 1998. The glue that continues to bind them is laughter.

Shirley Hardcastle says their fortnightly gatherings are “like therapy” adding, “it beats farming.”

Looking out through the Church windows over the road to the Killarney Primary School, the group realises they went to that school together, graduating in the late 1950s.

That memory generated a discussion about what girls learned in home economics back then, like how to iron tablecloths. They all agreed they would have liked to learn wood and metal work.

But the skills they learned have contributed to the attention to detail, creativity and patience applied to their beautifully crafted quilts that continue to raise money for the local community.

Over the years their quilts have raised funds for breast cancer, the Killarney Recreation Club, Aged Care, the Church to name a few.

This year they have created a stunning quilt, valued at over $500, for the Killarney Picnic Basket Day to raise funds for mental health.

Good fresh clean food

Killarney dynamo Sue Hoffman is best known at picnic basket day for her world-beating steak burgers.

What you don’t see is the military precision of the burger production that creates the mini-masterpiece presented to each of her 2000 customers.

‘Super Sue’ lives on her picturesque 140-acre property in Killarney next to Browns Falls, in a lush garden that attracts more than 32 species of birds.

Her workdays are spent running the family’s Warwick Gardens Galore nursery, café and gift shop in Warwick, along with the neighbouring motel.

As Sue simultaneously greets customers, wraps gifts and co-ordinates kitchen staff she speaks of her passion for the Killarney region’s “good fresh clean food, full of flavour.”

“At the picnic basket day, I sell steak burgers and pulled pork rolls. I buy local produce and everything is cooked fresh on the day. I buy the steak from a local butcher in Warwick and I buy the pork from the Killarney butcher.” Sue said.

“Even the bread is locally produced and the applesauce is homemade.

“People love the fresh taste and it’s a decent size – like you’d expect to get in the country.”

Rohan Hancock – Star on the paddock, shines in the yards

Former rugby league great Rohan Hancock was considered one of ‘the Invincibles’ on the paddock but these days he is renowned for his cattle buying prowess in the yards.

In the 1980s Rohan played the State of Origin’s first three years for Queensland. In 1982 he played in the Australian representative Kangaroos team, nicknamed ‘The Invincibles’ when they returned home as the first undefeated team to complete a Kangaroo Tour. Following his footsteps, daughter Stephanie last year co-captained the Australian women’s rugby league team, the Jillaroos, to win the team’s first World Cup.

While football opened doorways for Rohan, it was his rural childhood that shaped his career as a respected cattle buyer.

Raised among the rich volcanic fields of Killarney Queensland, Rohan’s pedigree extends from a long line of cattle selectors, butchers and processors.

His grandfather, ‘Tec’ Hancock, taught Rohan, as a boy, the art of cattle buying.

Rohan went on to train as a butcher at the Killarney Butchery and later in the Hancock family-owned Killarney Abattoir, opened by his father Rolly in the 1970s.

It was Killarney’s major employer for three decades and established ‘Killarney beef’s’ reputation as superior quality meat.

Quality cattle remain a big part of Rohan’s life, as he seeks out the best cattle in the district to supply to local butchers and, further afield, to well-known Brisbane meat suppliers, A la Carte Meats. Rohan firmly believes the fresh mountain air and rolling green hills of the Killarney area produce the best beef cattle in the country.

Meet the producers

Over the next few weeks, we will share the stories about the local food producers who bring you the tastes of Killarney at the annual picnic basket day.

Local writer Jo Brosnan and photographer Kieth Murray gathered the stories and photos from the Killarney area. Jo is a communication consultant and writer who runs her business, Jo Brosnan Strategic Communication, from her home office on the family cattle and horse property in Killarney’s Cambanoora Gorge. Kieth and his wife commute between Brisbane and their Cambanoora Gorge getaway. Photography is Kieth’s hobby and he is never short of stunning material to capture in the Killarney region