Hay and mo­lasses head­ing to Min­goola

The Northern Star - Northern New South Wales Rural Weekly - - FRONT PAGE - CAS­SAN­DRA GLOVER Cas­san­dra.glover@ru­ral­weekly.com.au

NORTH­ERN New South Wales farm­ers will soon re­ceive some much-needed drought re­lief with four trucks full of hay, mo­lasses, bags of feed and food ham­pers.

Ka­t­rina Wood and Tim Newell have been or­gan­is­ing a drought drive for Min­goola, west of Ten­ter­field.

“We have a prop­erty in Ten­ter­field, Wun­gle­bung, and we have campers stay­ing on our prop­erty and started rais­ing money for drought by sell­ing fire­wood to our campers,” Ms Wood said.

“Our neigh­bour has friends in the Min­goola area who said that area is re­ally bad, and they haven’t re­ceived any help out there.

“So I con­tacted Tim and asked about run­ning out to Min­goola. He’s been do­ing runs out to Bun­darra (south of In­verell).”

Ms Wood said they have re­ceived dona­tions from in­di­vid­u­als, lo­cal Ten­ter­field busi­nesses, Aussie Stair Com­pany in Bris­bane, as well re­ceiv­ing help from North Coast Drought Ap­peal.

Trucks have been do­nated by O’Con­nors Trans­port and Shoo­bridge Trans­port in Mur­willum­bah, as well as an­other truck from Glen Innes.

“I didn’t think it would get to the ex­tent it did, but it just snow­balled,” Ms Wood said.

“There is ap­prox­i­mately 16 fam­i­lies so far that are go­ing to be get­ting this feed. And we’re hop­ing to raise enough money to do an­other run.

“We’re hop­ing peo­ple will get on board and we can go a bit fur­ther west of Ten­ter­field.”

Ms Wood said this way peo­ple know their dona­tions are go­ing di­rectly to farm­ers.

“Peo­ple wanted to help but they were won­der­ing where to spend their money.

“They were look­ing at a way to get their money di­rectly to the farmer.

“I told campers that I they could buy a bag of feed and I could write their name on it with a love heart or some­thing and give it to the farm­ers, and they loved that!”

Ms Wood said she and her part­ner Stu Haw, share sto­ries of drought with the campers on their prop­erty.

“Over the Oc­to­ber long week­end we had a re­ally good group of campers, all from the Sun­shine Coast and Bris­bane, and we asked them all to meet us for some beers,” she said.

“Stu went through that hor­ri­ble drought in the ’90s and it’s al­most like he has post-trau­matic stress from it.

“We sat around and they started ask­ing ques­tions and Stu started an­swer­ing them and he got emo­tional, it was emo­tional time for every­body.

“But sud­denly it all be­came real and per­sonal from them.”

The Mur­willum­bah Ro­tary will be host­ing a bar­be­cue lunch with some drinks while the feed in un­loaded in Min­goola.

“There will be lunch, drinks and just some time off the farm,” Ms Woods said.

“Peo­ple can talk to each other and re­alise they’re not alone.

“Just the chance for them to be able to drive home for one day and feel good.”

Tim Newell has done three runs out to Bun­darra pre­vi­ously.

“Most of it has been the green tops of the cane trash. I know peo­ple that have been bal­ing it and giv­ing it away at re­al­is­tic prices,” Mr Newell said.

“All the money is do­nated and the trans­port is do­nated. And I just do it on the week­end be­cause they need a hand.

“I do­nated some to a farmer out there and then for the next two trips we just un­loaded at his place.

“There were four fam­i­lies the sec­ond time and five fam­i­lies the third time.

“We put on a lunch and had a cou­ple of beers and we sat around a fire and just gave them a bit of a break from it all.”

Mr Newell said he is not a farmer him­self, but he is more than happy to help out.

“I’ve worked on the land since I was young, out on cat­tle sta­tions in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory and Western Aus­tralia,” he said.

“I’ve seen drought and I know a lot of farm­ers and I’m happy to help.

“But no, I’m not a farmer and it’s times like this when I think I’m glad I’m not.”

Bun­darra cat­tle farmer David Lon­er­gan was the first to re­ceive a load of hay from Mr Newell.

“They very kindly bought up a cou­ple of loads of hay for us, with some dog food and some gro­ceries,” Mr Lon­er­gan said.

“The first load was a bit of sur­prise. Brett Bugg, who owns the IGA in Mur­willum­bah, he comes out and does a bit of recre­ational shoot­ing on the prop­erty, put us in touch with Tim.

“He knew we were in trou­ble with bush­fires and the drought.

“This is our first year of own­ing this prop­erty.”

Mr Lon­er­gan said the group came out with their fam­i­lies and they all had a nice bar­be­cue.

“The sec­ond time I rang around the area and found a few other peo­ple that needed a bit of help,” he said.

“And we had a bar­be­cue and it was re­ally im­por­tant be­cause it brings the com­mu­nity to­gether.

“We did the same thing the third time but I in­vited a dif­fer­ent peo­ple each time.

“I think the big­gest thing is we found out that we’re not out here alone and there are peo­ple out there to help you.”

Mr Lon­er­gan said hav­ing the bar­be­cues has been just as much help as re­ceiv­ing the dona­tions.

“For me the few bales of hay have been very much ap­pre­ci­ated but it’s been or­gan­is­ing the bar­be­cue and get­ting ev­ery­one to­gether,” he said.

“I had a lady the other day who said ‘I re­alise I’m not alone any­more’.

“Tim and Brett have do­nated their homes for peo­ple down here who want get away for the week­end. And just know­ing there are peo­ple who would open their homes like that.” Mr Lon­er­gan said he has been over­whelmed by the sup­port from the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

“Peo­ple in the com­mu­nity wanted to do­nate but didn’t want to give it to the big char­i­ties be­cause they don’t know where it goes,” he said.

“Per­son­ally I want to thank the com­mu­nity for what they’re do­ing be­cause it’s re­ally help­ing.

“It’s not go­ing to save us but it just helps us, with morale as much as any­thing.”

Com­mu­ni­ties step up to sup­port lo­cal farm­ers

PHO­TOS: CON­TRIB­UTED

BEAU­TI­FUL BALES: O’Con­nors Trans­port do­nated trucks to de­liver hay to farm­ers in need.

Stu Haw, Tim Newell and Ka­t­rina Wood ready to do­nate some hay to farm­ers in Min­goola.

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