Moama musters drought relief
THE plight of Australia's farmers battling the drought has been well documented in recent months and trucks on the nation's highways loaded with round and square bales of stock feed have been a common sight as the dry conditions across much of the country continue.
On a Sunday morning in late August, four loads of hay and donated groceries made their way into central NSW from northern Victoria, with the convoy crossing the Murray River at Echuca-Moama just on daybreak.
Bill Martin, from Cohuna, was behind the wheel of a Freightliner Argosy and headed the mini convoy consisting of three trucks from northern Victoria, with a fourth, driven by Allan and Andy Sproull, making the trip up from Lang Lang near Melbourne.
With the hay loads arranged through Drought Angels, two B-doubles and two singles were loaded at Woomelang in the Victorian Mallee with 8x4x3 square bales, with the trucks being dispatched to needy stock around Gilgandra, Grenfell and Wellington in NSW.
Along with the hay in the trailers for the hungry sheep and cattle, all the trucks were loaded up with groceries and supplies for the people on the properties that have been doing it tough, with donated goods ranging from breakfast cereal to pet food and toilet paper.
As is the Aussie way, Mr Martin reckoned once the word got around there was a hay run occurring, people were more than willing to pitch in and help.
A telehandler was donated and dispatched from Moama to the property where the hay was loaded and donations of groceries and supplies rolled in from a wide area.
"I put the call out on Facebook we were doing something on Monday,” MrMartin said.
"People from everywhere just turned up with stuff - we got two carloads of groceries and things from Lake Boga and Swan Hill and we also have a $500 gift card for each of the farmers we are going to - just the little things like that can help out a lot.”
Along with Mr Martin's Argosy and the Sproull Western Star, a Kenworth SAR and another Freightliner made the trip north, with the quartet heading up through West Wyalong and Forbes to their respective destinations, with all the drivers donating their time to the cause.
As the trucks headed out from Moama they were seen off by some well-wishers, with Mr Martin hoping to make their respective destinations late in the day.
He said the job they wereundertaking was rewarding despite the effort involved.
"We might not be doing much in the general scheme of things but every little bit helps,” he said.
Drought Angels is based in Chinchilla, Queensland and was founded in 2014.
It offers individualised support to farming families in times of need following natural disasters including drought, flood and fire.
To make a donation or to find out more about the valuable work they do, visit www.droughtangels.org.au.