Bring­ing light­ness in the wake of Woolooga fires

Jai Roos puts pen to paper to pay trib­ute to a ‘lo­cal group do­ing great things in our com­mu­nity’

The Gympie Times - - LIFE -

STAND­ING on my ve­randa over­look­ing the moun­tains cov­ered in a smoky haze, I hug my three chil­dren tightly, know­ing there are lives be­ing torn apart by the fierce tor­rent of the Woolooga bush­fires.

The three days to fol­low are spent re­ceiv­ing up­dates from my hus­band – a mem­ber of the lo­cal coun­cil, news re­ports of dead live­stock and homes dam­aged, two towns com­pletely dis­traught by the wrath of bush­fire.

Once the fires are brought un­der con­trol – the towns af­fected are left to scrum­mage through the dam­age, treat in­jured live­stock and tend to the rem­nants of their prop­er­ties. The dev­as­ta­tion is real and the calls for help start rolling out, but what is more amaz­ing is how the sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties rally to sup­port and do­nate to those in need.

The dona­tions came in fast; clothes, wa­ter, food. Of­fers of ag­ist­ment for those who have not one shoot of grass to feed their an­i­mals, the irony of what was an en­tire lucerne farm next door to some is now noth­ing but bare, burnt land. Peo­ple are giv­ing up their time to as­sist in man­ual labour, re­build­ing fences, mov­ing de­bris of sheds that didn’t make it through. The Woolooga Hay Drive – or­gan­ised by an in­cred­i­ble gen­er­ous soul with the as­sis­tance of Tom Grady Ru­ral – of­fer­ing to de­liver the hun­dreds of bales of hay do­nated by the com­mu­nity.

As the weeks roll by, the Wide Bay re­gion re­ceives the most de­sired, des­per­ately needed down­pours of rain – more than 140ml fall­ing upon the graces of Woolooga and Sex­ton.

By this stage, the lo­cal news channels have stopped re­port­ing on what was an ex­tremely tolling time on the land own­ers, the emer­gency ser­vices from all over south-east Queens­land and the vol­un­teers who stepped up and stepped in without even think­ing twice.

Its easy to for­get, to get caught up in the now and for­get about those who suf­fered, those who gave their time and risked their lives to save what they could, but not ev­ery­one for­got.

This is where the Gympie Ru­ral & Re­gional Women’s Net­work come in to it. A group of lo­cal women, do­nat­ing their time to the ru­ral com­mu­nity with the sole pur­pose to bring pos­i­tiv­ity and sup­port to the re­gion.

On Novem­ber 10, 2018, this won­der­ful group of women, with the as­sis­tance of the Gun­diah Com­mu­nity Com­mit­tee put to­gether a night to give back to those af­fected by the Woolooga fires.

The night con­sisted of a roast din­ner, meat do­nated by Meat City Mo­ray­field, live mu­sic by tal­ented Gympie per­former Ethan Roberts, lucky door prizes and a chance to come to­gether, to grieve what was lost, praise those who acted without a sec­ond thought and to smile, laugh and re­mem­ber how great it is to live in such an amaz­ing com­mu­nity.

This act of kind­ness and gen­eros­ity sparked by the car­ing souls of GRRWN is a won­der­ful re­minder that the com­mu­nity spirit in the Wide Bay re­gion is well and truly alive.

No mat­ter what is thrown our way, the peo­ple around here will band to­gether, do­nate and sup­port in what­ever way they can.

I am proud to be a mem­ber of this won­der­ful com­mu­nity.

Pho­tos: Con­trib­uted

COM­MU­NITY SUP­PORT: Gay Collins, Cal­lum Roberts and Branka Starce­viv at the event or­gan­ised by the Gympie Ru­ral & Re­gional Women’s Ne­work.

Sherry Lowe (left), per­former Ethan Robert­son and Michaela Calvert at the post-fire event.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.