Rocking to roll depression

In a one-night special, a newly-formed Origin band played to a packed out, enthusiastic crowd at the Condamine Pub and raised money to combat mental illness.

The band, named URLY NOXS (as in ‘early knocks’) is made up of Origin operational and support team┬ámembers, who work as fly-in-fly-out workers at the Condabri gas processing and water treatment facility in west Queensland.

It started when Muri Pene, Craig Pearson and Shaun Oates started jamming together as a way to have fun between shifts. Before long they were joined by Craig Owens, Zac Taylor, Col Watzek and Scott Purcell. When on roster together, the guys practiced after work at the camp and began playing on Sunday afternoons.

Condabri Field Manager Paul O’Meara was receiving regular, positive feedback. “The covers they were playing were being received so enthusiastically by all of us on site, we thought, why not share this with the local community?” Paul explains.

“I knew the Condamine Pub struggled to attract and pay bands to play to its patrons. The last band to play at the pub was from Brisbane last summer and cost the publican $2,500,” said Paul.

Muri explains that three of the seven band members had never played in a band before, let alone live. But Paul knew the guys were good enough and thought it would be a great way to show support to the local community.

They discovered the local rugby team, Condamine Cods, had a relationship with Beyond Blue, a mental health charity. The band decided to use their debut gig as a fundraiser for the charity, to make a lasting contribution. According to Beyond Blue more than 3 million Australians are living with depression or anxiety.

“We were over the moon that we could make a meaningful difference and show the town of Condamine that Origin wants to be a good neighbour and a contributor to the community,” said Muri.

They raised more than $2,600 which, when matched by the Origin Foundation, meant that $5,200 was donated to Beyond Blue. “We definitely want to get out there and do it again, once we get everyone together again on the same shift!” said Paul.