The 15th annual Burrumbuttock Hay Run gets underway this week, with a convoy of trucks heading to drought affected farmers in Queensland.
The convoy of around 200 trucks will visit Quilpie, Eulo and Thargomindah over the Australia Day weekend, showcasing the Aussie spirit of showing support for desperate farming families.
Founder of the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners, Brendan Farrell says it’s crucial that farmers continue to get support.
“It’s all about supporting the outback communities,” Brendan said.
“Let’s keep the dream alive. The only thing that has left the drought is the media. Four months ago it was a big topic. I feel it’s a pretty p_s poor effort not to have a reporter in the outback saying it still hasn’t rained.
“A lot of charities are doing a lot of work and we have to make sure our city cousins understand that it hasn’t rained.”
This year is also a greater emphasis on supporting outback children with shipping containers and boxes filled with donated toys.
“Volunteers have accumulated brand new toys, a lot of them and they’re going into the trucks. We loaded up nearly 55 trolleys of toys through vouchers at Big W, it wasn’t donated money spent.
“LEGO, water pistols, cricket bat sets, anything I could find that was going to be worthwhile giving to a young fella or girl in the outback to keep the spirit alive, because the drought hasn’t gone away at all.
‘Our first hay run was in 2014, in Bourke (NSW) and it was like going to the moon, and it hasn’t changed one bit. The only thing that’s changed is the morale of people – they’re tired and the stock numbers have dropped but it’s still bare.”
While Brendan and the hay runners know that the hay they deliver will only provide temporary relief, it’s about showing fellow Australians that someone cares about them.
“Quilpie is one of those little towns in the middle of nowhere that gets forgotten about,” Brendan said.
“There are a lot of those sorts of towns in Queensland and New South Wales, and those are the places I try and help. We have to try and make sure these farmers know they’re not forgotten.”
The Hay Runners depart from Darlington Point on Thursday 24 January, arriving in Quilpie for hay delivery on Australia Day.
Border Cafe Editor Kylie King will join the Hay Runners this year, providing photos and stories where possible to this publication and Facebook, as well as updates on radio 2AY.