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WA convoy carrying thousands of donated hay bales heads to NSW to help bushfire-affected farmers

By Jon Daly, Saturday January 18, 2020 - 14:40 EDT
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A convoy of almost a dozen trucks is making its way to Cooma, NSW. - ABC

A convoy of almost a dozen trucks stocked with more than 2,000 bales of donated hay and fodder and a raft of supplies like clothes, blankets and nappies is heading from south-west Western Australia to help farmers in fire-ravaged areas of New South Wales.

Organisers of the Harvey Hay Run put out the call for help just two weeks ago and scores of local farmers, truck drivers and community members answered.

"The response has been just incredible," convoy co-coordinator Belinda Hall said.

"It just reminds you of the Aussie spirit and the fact we're all in this together."

There have been 44 separate donations of hay from farmers across the south-west region and beyond.

"There's been large donations but a lot of the pledges we've had have been from just smaller families and farms, and it's from their own stockpile," Ms Hall said.

'The Australian thing'

The convoy left Tom Rose's farm near Brunswick this morning.

Mr Rose will lead the convoy when it arrives in the southern NSW town of Cooma by next Wednesday, January 22.

"I am pretty proud to be able to do that," he said.

"I hate to think of what we see next Wednesday, but I just hope we can help keep some stock alive and help the morale of the people involved."

Sandy MacPherson is one of several truck drivers who have volunteered to make the trip.

Mr MacPherson said it was simply the right thing to do.

"I'd hope it's just the Australian thing," he said.

"Everyone can see the fact that if it happened to them it would be a pretty tough gig, so what do you do?

"You can't sit back and watch, that's for sure."

Memories of fire

Some of the most generous donations came from farmers and communities devastated by the 2016 Waroona-Yarloop bushfires that destroyed 160 homes and killed two people.

"It was the four-year anniversary on January 6 for the Waroona-Yarloop bushfire and that's where all the support has come from," Ms Hall said.

"I've been fortunate enough to speak to so many people involved in Yarloop, and even though people have rebuilt, the emotion toll of that is very much outstanding."

Ms Hall said she had made more than 200 phone calls looking for help and had next to no refusals.

"You can have conversations with as many people as you like, and the answer is always the same: 'You do what you can for your neighbour, farmers helping farmers and Aussies helping Aussies'," she said.

Mr Rose said the community's support for the hay run had been overwhelming.

"It does show there are still some good human beings in this world," he said.


© ABC 2020

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