An amazing team of people from the south of the Shire are making hay while the sun shines, and helping out their farming colleagues out west.
On Friday Peter Wilson and his neighbour Dominique Servais generously donated an entire semi-load of hay from Dom’s Dad’s 24 acre property out the back of Eungai Rail to help relieve some of the devastation this drought is having on farming families across the state.
Peter was affected by the reality of the dry after a recent trip out Tamworth way with his son, and resolved, with his neighbour, to do something about it.
Hearing all the reports of how bad it is, we thought, ‘well we’ve got it, so let’s do this’.Dominique Servais
Peter spent most of last week harvesting and tying up over 600 bales of grass which was just sitting idle in a paddock while fences were waiting to be mended.
“He worked like an absolute Trojan,” neighbour Lucy Shepherd said.
And off the back of his proactivity, others were also inspired to chip in.
“Pete was able to get the twine to bale from the Buffalo Farm,” Dominique said.
“And Alex Turnbull (from Kempsey) spent all night – while he was supposed to be sleeping – fixing the mower and the baler when they both broke down.
“We were offered extra trucks and forklifts by Clyde and Rod Blair, and I think Webbs offered Lucy some fuel for the trip.”
When transport for the hay fell through at the eleventh hour, Lucy got on the phone to try to work out an alternative.
Judy Ward from Macksville Ex-Services knew exactly who to call and got straight on the case, ringing in the support of the crew at Fortade Earthmoving in the Macksville Industrial Estate.
Business owners Brad Fortescue and Wayne Pade were keen to lend assistance to the cause: “We just wanted to do our bit for the farmers and to help out in any way we could,” Brad said.
“So we volunteered a truck and a driver.”
When the call came through that a truck had been found, a group of around 20 Eungai and Allgomera locals (and a couple of Canberrans on holiday) rallied with less than twelve hours notice to help load the bales onto the truck on Friday morning, before heavy combination driver, Colin Saul, headed out early Saturday morning with the haul.
The destination for the fodder came through at the last minute and you’d be hard-pressed to think of a more serendipitously poetic place for a truckload of golden hope to pull into.
But my languid mood forsook me, when I found a name that took me, Quite by chance I came across it -`Come-by-Chance’ was what I read…Banjo Paterson, Come-By-Chance
Come By Chance, named after a sheep station in 1862, is a locality in the Pilliga district of northern New South Wales. It is located 60km south-east of Walgett and about 100km north of Coonabarabran in the Walgett Shire.
Lucy, who knows the area well and headed out there this week to help, said the families “are so excited and grateful for this help”.
She said she was incredibly proud of what the community had achieved.
“Everyone working together for a common goal, no ego and an incredible sense of mateship...Well done the HAY-TEAM of Eungai."
Fortade’s business officer Trevor Stride said he felt “a little overwhelmed” upon hearing that one of the wives of the farmers burst into tears at the news the hay was on its way.
“[This team effort is a] little bit of Australian mateship, supported by a strong local volunteer community, that helps our farmers battling it hard out west during this drought.”
Dominique said it was a great feeling to witness the momentum of a community all coming together to do their bit and have “all the pieces fall into place”.
“And it’s not slowing down,” she said.
With logistics now lined up, the team is appealing to any other local landholders who might have some spare paddocks worth of fodder they don’t need.
They are currently organising another load of 200 bales from Erik and Birgit Von Ferrel’s property at Eungai.
“If you’ve got grass that can be baled, get in contact with Judy at the Macksville Ex-Services,” Lucy said.