Tassie truckies dig deep to help
IT SEEMS somewhat ironic that you would have to travel across a stretch of water to bring drought relief to NSW.
But that is what Glenn Phillips and lots of his mates did when they crossed Bass Strait to bring much needed feed to the parched areas of the state.
Glenn, a real estate agent in Wynyard on the northeast coast of Tasmania, started out thinking maybe he and a mate might drive over but it quickly grew to a substantial convoy once the word went out.
"I went to borrow a truck from a mate who has a couple of them and he said 'If you go, I'll go',” Glenn said.
"Then there were four of us and we put it on social media and suddenly there's 14 trucks going. It was mostly people involved in farming or contracted to farmers. The support we've had has been incredible.”
Glenn and his mates were also able to hand out 100, $300 food vouchers, provided by a local Tasmanian business.
The convoy, loaded with hay donated by farmers in the region, left Devonport by ferry on a Sunday and finally hit the road north from Melbourne by 11am on Monday (following a few media engagements).
After a journey of about 1200km, they finally dropped the bales in Tamworth on the Wednesday afternoon.
Once unloaded, thoughts turned to home - and refreshment.
"The guys are feeling good, all positive, and all keen for a beer tonight, no doubt,” Glenn said.
Ulverstone driver Kyle Robinson was enjoying a well-earned quiet one with his convoy cohorts when Big Rigs caught up with him.
Despite all the guys sacrificing wages and time with family to answer the SOS, he said they're already planning a second run.
He said the support from the community was overwhelming with accommodation and meals donated en route, and also a free breakdown repair from CMV Truck & Bus in West Wodonga thrown in for good measure.
But the biggest reward came when the ag contractor pulled into a farmer's property near Gunnedah, NSW, to unload his Mack.
"They were down to their last 10 bales of hay, they only had a few more days left. They're struggling a bit,” Kyle said.