ALL the way from Kojonup, Western Australia, a convoy of supporters of rural Australia hit Gunnedah this week, bringing stockfeed, money and a message.
Led by Outback Truckers TV personality Glenn “Yogi” Kendall and fellow driver Peter Wright, they’d travelled almost 4000km in little more than a week.
They came bearing gifts of $10,000 worth of cattle pellets, $2500 worth of Visa gift cards, letters of support for local schoolchildren and encouragement: that even through the severe drought “the towns are surviving, you just gotta support the town”.
The Great Southern Hearts Drive for Life campaign began “from solid belief and understanding that, out here in the country, you help a mate out whenever and however you can”.
After leaving Kojonup on September 24, the altruists stopped in Salmon Gums and Eucla, WA; Ceduna and Kimba, South Australia; Mildura in Victoria; and Hay and Cowra in NSW.
Teaming up with groups including Need 4 Feed along the way, they’d dropped off donations such as hay, animal feed and gift cards in each spot.
Gunnedah was the last destination, where they stopped in at Bredal Australia for a barbecue, a rest and a chat with the locals, including Bredal owners Ben and Georgina Nichols.
Yogi said that in chats with Mr Nichols, they agreed wholeheartedly on one key point as the drought continued: “Look after your own and survive – do what you gotta do – but don’t go out of the town, because you don’t wanna not be here for the future”.
“It is dry, it is horrible, it will rain again, the town is still here – don’t walk out of the town,” Yogi said.
His advice: “Spend a dollar in the town” – preferably at independent business.
Mr Nichols said his business, like most, was feeling the effects of the drought, but “it will change and it’ll all turn around – we’ve just gotta hang on.”
Mrs Nichols said the CWA of WA had donated the Visa gift cards and “it would be great to see them being reused back into Gunnedah”.
“The butcher, the bread shop, the newsagent, the dress shops – we have it all here,” she said.
The stock feed will be distributed through Aussie Helpers and the gift cards through Gunnedah CWA.
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