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Passion for fashion

Tuesday, 26th February, 2019

Colleen Gates has spent the past twenty-five years competing in the fashions of the field at the St Pats and Silver City Races, with quite a few winners sashes under her belt.PICTURE: Emily Ferguson Colleen Gates has spent the past twenty-five years competing in the fashions of the field at the St Pats and Silver City Races, with quite a few winners sashes under her belt.PICTURE: Emily Ferguson

By Emily Ferguson

You may know her name or more so for her style, as Colleen Gates has been attending the St Patricks Race Meeting and competing in the Fashions on the Field for the past 25 years. 

She has a total of eleven wins to her name, at both the St Pats and Silver City Races, which she believes could be a record.

Whenever she has been crowned the winner and given a sash, she gives them to her grandchildren. 

“They think Nana is a princess instead of Nana,” she laughed. 

Colleen came to Broken Hill at the age of eighteen and in 1956 married a local boy, Jim Hume with whom she had two children, Andrea and Cameron. 

Jim was unfortunately killed on the North Mine in 1974. 

Colleen remarried in 1979 to a well-known grazier, Darel Gates and they lived on Tintinallogy Station for seventeen years.  

Aside from her husband the most important people in her life are her children, eight grandchildren and her great grandson, as well as her six chosen grandchildren, Colleen said.

Ever since she was a little girl, Colleen has had a love for fashion; St Pats and the Silver City Races are the highlight of her year. 

Colleen’s favourite thing about the races is the uplifting vibe you feel when in attendance. 

“When you walk through those gates and you see all those people and everyone is laughing and cheering and commenting on how you look.

“I have met a lot of people who have gone into the fashions, they’re really great people, friendly people.”

She is a huge fan of the Gary Radford Pavilion, she described it as “a mini Melbourne Cup, it’s absolutely beautiful.”

After years at the races, Colleen has a few idea about what she thinks will be on trend at this year’s event. 

“I’d be very surprised if it won’t be light pastel clothes, I think our young girls are beautiful; they can wear anything and look fabulous in it,” Colleen said.

“I predict there will be a few off the shoulders and the hats will be very small.”

Colleen was gifted her dress (from Fashion Den) for her 80th birthday, by her step-daughter and husband.

Colleen regularly makes her own hats for the events and is doing the same again this year.

“It’s nearly finished but not quite.

“I’m hoping we get a really good crowd for the town... but everyone should enjoy it, make the effort.” 

Colleen is very much looking forward to the fast approaching St Pats Races.

“I certainly am, it’s my main two outings for the year, St Patties and Silver City Races.

“I always stand back and admire our teenagers and I would hate to be a judge, the decisions are very very hard for those judges because every girl is lovely in her own way.

“I think girls need to have more confidence because they’re beauties and they can do it.

“You don’t need to spend a lot of money, it’s how you wear your clothes and how you present yourself, it what I would say to any young girl who wants to enjoy the fashions, just present yourself well, feel well and have a good time.”

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