Communities in drought

Host: Callanna Station
Written by Lucy Goldspink

The bush is a marvellous place where people are selfless and generous. Sure, in times of hardship you can become engrossed in your own life and the difficulty you are facing, but when someone needs something others are always there to help.

Our community has been tackling severe drought for a few years now, the old fellas say they’ve never seen it like this. Sure, it’s the desert, but to have such small amounts of rain so far apart is uncommon historically.

We don’t have many people per square kilometre but it’s like any bush community- when times are tough we pull together even closer.

In the days leading up to our wedding we had a mate (who’s also our neighbour) rock up with 2 water trucks to help us make the road into our wedding ceremony passable. He stayed for 2 days and brought an employee with him, even though he had a much bigger project on his mind. We were so grateful. We had so many people drop everything to help us, even though they had so much going on themselves.

Another example is our local sporting club; at the moment we are building a new shed as part of an infrastructure program. Community members and committee members from the club have spent hundreds of hours volunteering throughout the process without payment or much recognition. No one complains and no one minds because they are building a legacy that our kids will be able to enjoy.

Marree is a small town whose population sits at 101 (2016 census). We have thousands of tourists come and go each year, especially when Lake Eyre has water in it. They pass by like a blur. They have a cuppa on the lake, get a happy snap at the Birdsville track sign, comment on how dry it is and camp in the Cooper Creek. I’m not sure people that come and go could ever appreciate just how close we are, even though we are so far apart. Nothing is ever too much.