One of rural Australia’s most successful social media stories, the Who Got the Rain Facebook page, has begun a Thirsty Thursday offshoot to give people an outlet to talk about how dry they are.
It’s an ironic twist for a page set up to give people a safe outlet to express their excitement when it rains, but administrator Jenny Gordon said it was necessary in order to save the page’s original intentions.
“It was becoming obvious that more people were posting that it hadn’t rained where they were, and we didn’t want that to become the emphasis,” Jenny said. “People know it hurts when it doesn’t rain, but our page is for people to share their rain news without feeling guilty, so we’re always treading a very fine line.”
She and fellow administrator Donna Paynter decided that Thirsty Thursday would be a way to offer a middle path, so that people could share their situation and give others in the 31,000-strong online community a chance to offer sympathy, understanding and support.
One of those taking up the opportunity was Kilcoy’s Trudi Pratt, who said it was important to let city people know that drought wasn’t just something that happened way out west, but was on their doorsteps.
The property has been in her husband’s family since 1905 and they said they’d never seen it drier than it is now.
“I’ve lived here for 33 years and seen our swamp go dry three times in that time. Two of those times have been the last two years.”
In 2016 they had half their average rainfall.
Trudi said the feedback from her posting had been uplifting.
“It’s a good idea,” she said. “It gave us a way to vent our frustration, and the comments let us know we’re not Robinson Crusoe.”
Two other people, from Wide Bay and Thangool, took the opportunity to post pictures as well.
Jenny said the invitation didn’t attract as many comments as she’d expected, but they’ll be issuing further invitations to post while it still wasn’t raining in places.
”We’re not planning to do it each Thursday – we want to preserve the aim of the page – but as an experiment I think it was reasonably successful,” she said.