Hay runners deliver hope to drought-stricken Qld farmers
YOU can't get more Australian than helping someone you don't know.
That's how Burrumbuttock Hay Run organiser Brendan Farrell described what drove him and more than 500 other volunteers to come to the aid of struggling farmers in and around the Quilpie area over the Australia Day weekend.
In what has been described as the ultimate show of mateship, a convoy of 180 trucks descended on the parched landscape with more over 6500 bales of hay for drought-stricken south Queensland farmers.
"You're an emotional rollercoaster," Brendan told 10 News from Quilpie.
"One minute your laughing with your crew, next minute your balling your eyes out because someone sent you a text or Facebook message, and that's what makes it all real."
In a hay run first, the volunteers also delivered more than $10,000 worth of toys off to families in the area, who were invited to attend a special Australia Day concern on Saturday night.
Moss Vale truckie Jacob Rofe had seen the struggles faced by farmers on previous hay runs with Brendan, but he admits that he got a shock at just how dry the area was as he made the drive into his designated drop-off point.
"It's hot and dry as hell," Jacob wrote on Facebook.
"Into their 4th and 5th year of no substantial rain. Just 66mm of rain in 2018 fell on a 500,000-acre place where I unloaded today.
"Absolutely devastating it is. The pictures DO NOT do it justice. Things are very bad in western Queensland but amazingly the pride and resilience and the Australian spirit is high. The drought most definitely hasn't gone away.
"There are people out here that have been forgotten by those surrounded by lovely green grass on the big hill in Canberra which is a crying shame. Not sure the official count but maybe 150 trucks. Roughly 5000 bales of hay plus other goods brought along too.
"Goosebumps and started to get abit overwhelmed and somewhat emotional driving into Quilpie yesterday seeing the locals lining the streets to wave and greet us. Thankyou to those who donated the load of hay I brought up. Thankyou to the Hayter family for the trailer. And Thankyou to my beautiful wife Melissa and my little boy Charlie for holding the fort at Home while I'm away. Australia Day 2019 done right."
Jessica Edwards, who is best known as social media star Jillaroo Jess, was back for her second straight Burrumbuttock run behind the wheel and said it was a real mix of heartbreak and heart-warming over an emotional weekend.
"The affect this drought has had in so many parts of Australia is devastating to say the least," she said on her Facebook page.
"Brought a tear to my eye seeing how people pulled together to help those in need. It's great to see Aussies helping Aussies. I met some great new people this run and look forward to seeing you all again next year!
"Thanks to Geoffro of Amarant Trucking Co for giving me a truck to drive and to everyone else who was involved. It's not just about the hay but about the mental health of everyone struggling in the drought."