Bale out

So­nia Kruger digs in for Nine’s drought re­lief con­cert, Hay Mate: Buy A Bale

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - TV Guide - - Front Page -

HER ca­reer has taken her around the coun­try and around the world, be­fore mak­ing her home with her TV ex­ec­u­tive part­ner Craig McPher­son and their daugh­ter Mag­gie, in a har­bour­side sub­urb of Syd­ney.

But Toowoomba-born TV pre­sen­ter So­nia Kruger has felt her heart­strings pull her back to the bush where her mother Mar­garet and her large fam­ily were raised – in a ru­ral com­mu­nity which, like many, has done it tough through the lean years of drought.

It was 1915 when Kruger’s ma­ter­nal grand­par­ents, Harry and Winifred Franklin, set­tled in Kin­garoy – peanut coun­try in Queens­land.

“She was a war bride and came out from Eng­land. He was in­jured as a sol­dier in Gal­lipoli and so … they went to Kin­garoy and she never left be­cause she got preg­nant ev­ery year,” Kruger tells TV Guide.

Sev­en­teen chil­dren and 75 grand­chil­dren later and the ex­pan­sive Franklin fam­ily are spread far and wide around the Sun­shine State – in one way or an­other feel­ing the ef­fects of the dev­as­tat­ing drought.

Kin­garoy it­self is one of the 23 lo­cal govern­ment ar­eas across Queens­land af­fected, with record low rain­fall and very lit­tle to fill its catch­ment dams.

But as a lit­tle girl, Kruger re­mem­bers it in hap­pier times, spend­ing hol­i­days on the “tiny farm” and rel­ish­ing the free­dom of coun­try life.

“Let’s just say there was not a lot of cot­ton-wool­ing of chil­dren back then,” she re­calls.

“I re­mem­ber get­ting on these horses one day, bare back, my sis­ter and I and the horse she was on just took off. I’m not sure how old we were, but they were head­ing straight for the clothes­line and we were like, ‘duck, duck!’ Luck­ily, Deb fell off be­fore we got to the clothes­line, but we just ran riot. We played by the dam, we ex­plored, it was won­der­ful.”

It’s per­sonal, then, for Kruger to be co-host­ing Nine’s fundrais­ing con­cert and telethon

Hay Mate: Buy A Bale next Satur­day night.

Broad­cast live from Tam­worth’s Scully Park, the ben­e­fit con­cert will be head­lined by for­mer Aus­tralian of the Year and mul­ti­ple-ARIA win­ner John Farn­ham. Daryl Braith­waite, Guy Se­bas­tian, The Veron­i­cas, Jon Stevens and An­drew Far­riss from INXS have also thrown their hat in the ring to rock the stage; rais­ing money for Ru­ral Aid (a char­ity which pro­vides sup­port for bush com­mu­ni­ties).

For a lot of city slick­ers, the drought can be ‘out of sight, out of mind’.

But as Kruger knows from her ex­pe­ri­ence on her fam­ily’s re­mote prop­erty, the mod cons of 2018 aren’t within easy reach for farm­ers and their chil­dren – strapped for cash and ac­cess.

“We went up to the farm as kids and I re­mem­ber what it was like … how re­mote it was, how dif­fi­cult it could be. As a city kid, when you grow up, you have cars with power win­dows and colour tele­vi­sions and ev­ery­one’s got an iPad,” she says. “You go out to farms like that and it’s su­per ba­sic and you are lit­er­ally liv­ing off the land. You can’t be pop­ping down to Coles or Woolies.”

Kruger moved to south Bris­bane at the age of three, and teases that her 75 first cousins were the rea­son she f led the state and headed south to es­tab­lish her show­biz ca­reer 25 years ago. “I was scared I might ac­ci­den­tally marry one of them,” she joked.

De­ter­mined to bring some of the sparkle she first showed in Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ball­room to the drought con­cert stage, Kruger is al­ready plan­ning the wardrobe of her co-hosts Richard Wilkins and David Camp­bell.

“Richard will come as Johnny Cash, dressed in black, ob­vi­ously,” she ex­plains. “And I’m try­ing to con­vince David to do the Rhine­stone Cow­boy, but he’s into be­ing the Elec­tric Horse­man. Ei­ther which way, I want to see some Swarovski crys­tals up on that stage be­cause, ‘that’s show­biz’.”

She has an­other rea­son to dress to im­press and that’s the re­turn of “Farnsy”.

While it’s be­come a run­ning joke that the You’re The Voice singer has made a ca­reer later in life out of farewell tours, Kruger was front and cen­tre as host of his very first “Last Time” con­cert, which was tele­vised more than a decade ago. A celebrity phone bank will take do­na­tions across Aus­tralia, with Nine Net­work tal­ent and in­dus­try favourites lin­ing up to lend a hand. Nine has al­ready kick- started its drought appeal, rais­ing $10.5 mil­lion from To­day and To­day Ex­tra’s au­di­ence sup­port. “This is a dev­as­tat­ing time for our farm­ers, so it’s a priv­i­lege to be in­volved with the Hay Mate: Buy A Bale ben­e­fit,” Kruger says. “Our aim is to raise a huge amount of money and pro­vide some much­needed re­lief to the farm­ers and fam­i­lies suf­fer­ing out there.”

HAY MATE: BUY A BALE 7PM, SATUR­DAY, NINE EDI­TOR Holly Byrnes RE­VIEWS Amelia Saw, Colin Vick­ery, Leigh Paatsch, Cameron Adams COVER IM­AGE Dylan Robin­son COVER DE­SIGN Paul Leigh PIC­TURE EDI­TOR Neil Ben­nett AD­VER­TIS­ING (02) 9288 2104 PRO­DUC­TION Page­mas­ters. Pub­lished by News Lim­ited, 26 Hume Hwy, Chul­lora NSW 2190, for News Corp Aus­tralia. PRO­GRAM IN­FOR­MA­TION: Is cor­rect at the time of print­ing, but may be sub­ject to late change by in­di­vid­ual tele­vi­sion net­works amend­ing their sched­ules.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.