When men find a way - beard growing competition

Bushrangers are often described as folk-heroes, or murderers, but rarely is the iconic image of Ned Kelly, held up as a fashion icon. 

But all that might now be changing thanks to a group of men from Jindera, who found a novel way to raise awareness for the town’s 150th anniversary celebrations. 

Since April 14, beard growing race coordinator Peter Martin and other hopefully, have been growing out their whiskers in the hopes of being crowned as having the Best Beard come October. 

Mr Martin said the idea for the race came from the historic occasion. 

He said 150 years ago Jindera – then Dight’s Forest – was settled by a group of about 40 families, many of whom “wore a beard or moustache because either it was the fashion, a barber was too far away or they were just too busy laying down the foundations of this thriving community to shave”.

Now, until the October long-weekend 150th celebration at least, the trend is returning to the streets of Jindera.

“We’re hoping for something in the order of 300 millimetres,” Mr Martin said.

“I was told in my research you need six months to grow a good beard and that anything else it a bit lightweight – we only have five and a half months so it will be interesting to see what we get.”

Mr Martin said while beards in their full glory were not as common as in past centuries, many were still passionate about them.

“We have uncovered a minor society of them floating around,” he said.

“It’s like an underground society, I almost expect them to have a secret handshake – hopefully I’ll find it out.”

The beard competition is separated into three categories, the Best Registered Beard, Best Beard of the Day and the Most Interesting Beard.

The beard growing race will be judged during the three-day town 150 celebration from September 29 to October 1.