IN a stunning show of Aussie mateship, a group of Upper Hunter farmers, who are being pushed to the brink by one of Australia’s worst droughts, today banded together to lend each other a helping hand.
A convoy of eight trucks from the Mid North Coast containing 280 bales of hay and two tonnes of groceries and supplies including drinking water, which many farmers are buying in, rolled into the historic property of Belltrees just outside of Gundy.
More than 50 farmers from the Gundy and Moonan Flat areas waved and clapped as they arrived.
The support came just two weeks after Josh Ball, a butcher in Kempsey on the NSW Mid North Coast put out a call on Facebook to help source hay and transport it out west to farmers in drought.
Well, the community of Kempsey and the Macleay Valley certainly responded.
“Since then we have just been inundated by money and hay and people jumping on board to buy a bale,” his wife Shelley Ball explained.
“Last Tuesday, we took 40 bales out to a sheep farmer at Uttunga, and we were just touched by the devastating conditions.
“As we made the trip back we saw scores of dead sheep on a neighbouring property.”
Truck drivers, owners, hay contractors, local schools and community groups in Kempsey all donated whatever they could – anything from a bag of dog food to a bale of hay.
“In two weeks we have raised nearly $50,000 and I’ve got 500 bales to move,” Josh Ball added.
“They have bought hay, they’ve baled hay, they have paid for the fuel in their trucks, they have not been given one cent for this – that’s from Kempsey,” said Belltrees’ Anto White who helped coordinate the day.
Josh Ball said just seeing everyone smile and say thank you made it all worthwhile.
Australian spirit burned bright as the local Belltrees Cricket Club also put on a barbeque and offered everyone a beer.
“It was the least we could do,” Belltrees Cricket Club’s Adam Williamson said.
The Macleay Hay Run is working with Aussie Helpers, to find out how you can help visit https://aussiehelpers.org.au/
Keep up to date with the Macleay Hay Run through their Facebook page.