Written by – Kylie Savidge, Owner, Southampton Station.
There have been plenty of people and charity organisations helping out those of us who are drought stricken and in need of a little extra help, whether this be a bag of dog nuts, a fruit cake, or a few bales of hay.
Buy-a-Bale organiser Charles Alder contacted me in early February when conditions were very tough and asked if we would like some hay to help us out. This turned into five organised hay drops for our area. I co-ordinated one from Southampton and other like-minded people took on the responsibility for their areas, making sure that to the best of their ability no-one missed out on hay. This took an immense amount of time and co-ordination skills but I am pleased to say that I was a part of it all and the end results were that we all received ten or more bales of sorghum silage. Many hands other than my own were involved in the delivering, the unloading, and the loading of the hay. Our neighbour came to the rescue when our big forklift loader tyre went irreparably flat with a road train to unload, another neighbour spent the whole day helping load and tie down the hay once reloaded onto the other vehicles, others brought along a cake or slice to share. It was a good day even under the desperate circumstances.
Two road trains of hay were delivered to Southampton and stored whilst a pick up date was decided upon. In the midst of all this it began to rain, not much, just enough to stop the truck getting in and out and in general make a mess of roads, but rain is rain and we’ll take what we can get.
People questioned why we should be receiving hay when we had had some rain, as I explained; some rain does not paddocks of grass make. You need good rain, followed by good rain to grow grass plus warm weather to provide the right growing conditions. As it was we didn’t get the follow up rain that was needed and the grass that started to grow stopped growing and died off.
The hay we received fed calves and weaners, sick and old cattle and kept them alive so when the grass did grow a little they were strong enough to utilise it.
Organising this was a huge learning experience for us all not just myself, phone calls at all hours, emails, and just the co-ordinating was eye-opening. I discovered much about people that amazed me, both in good and bad ways.
Also at this same time Baked Relief was also distributed and on the day of the hay pickup we sat down on the verandah for a cuppa and some fruit cake and Anzac biscuits courtesy of all of those who baked to send a little bit of friendship out bush. It is amazing at how little it takes to lift ones spirits and create a smile. Baked Relief kicked off in 2011 when the Lockyer Valley and Brisbane floods occurred when a lady cooked some muffins to drop off to volunteers who were sandbagging etc.
I would also like to say thank you to those who made this happen. Your generosity, your time, effort, and money to make this happen are very, very much appreciated by those of us on the receiving end. Heartfelt gratitude from all graziers for the various acts of kindness from so many different organizations, Australians caring for Australians does our country proud.