The Torchlight March is the Signature Event of the Tree of Knowledge Festival – a re-enactment of the night-time torchlight processions that occurred during the 1891 Shearers’ Strike in Barcaldine.

During the2017 march, participants follow in the footsteps of the striking shearers of 126 years ago. Marchers will experience the light and movement, the historical moment and the solidarity of those strikers as they marched in the name of ‘a fair go’.The Torchlight March will wend its way through the Strike Camp, under torchlight, with replica historical banners proclaiming the political messages of that time, and lifesize effigies of politicians of the day held aloft to be ceremoniously burned at the end of the March. Marchers can choose to wear historically-correct costumes for the event, enhancing the scene and atmosphere, included in their participation package. Those who wish to carry banners and effigies prepared earlier in the day can do so for an extra charge. Not everyone will want to pay to march – there was also a large crowd of people cheering on the marchers back in 1891, so once again the crowd will be most welcome as part of the event.

Following the Torchlight March, local Indigenous people and dancers will welcome everyone to country and perform traditional dances. Marchers will be encouraged to join in the celebrations.

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Strike Camp Accommodation


Be one of the first to stay overnight in the strike camp accommodation at the TOK Festival!

In 1891, shearers on strike set up large strike camps in Queensland with one of the largest at Barcaldine. The camp was on the outskirts of the town on Lagoon Creek, laid out in three streets of over 500 tents and some strikers spent months camping there.

In 2017, at the TOK Festival, campers who like unusual camp sites have the opportunity to stay overnight in a strike camp tent, on site in the Tree of Knowledge Festival Precinct, close to the action but far enough away to get a restful sleep on your shearer’s bunk.

The Strike Camp will be an EXPERIENCE that you won’t want to miss!

Twin-share or single accommodation available.  Nightly or weekly rates.  Camping shower and toilet facilities available (not available to the strikers!).  BYO bed linen/sleeping bags.

This is your chance to experience the shearers’ camp conditions. There is a shearers’ kitchen attached to the camp for making light meals or you can avail yourself of the shearers’ breakfast for a small fee.

The strike camp is just a very short hop over the railway line if you are arriving for the Festival by train, or there is on-site vehicle parking.