Drought dolls and children’s books help raise funds for farmers

Drought funds heading to Buy a Bale drought relief


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Contributing to an artistic ‘festival of hope’ for drought farmers were school students from Brigidine College, Indooroopilly, Jemima Davies, Tara Bissett and Elise Cotteril with, from left, Buderim musician Ken O’Flaherty, Vanessa Bissett, Jim Bowden, writer, Tina Mitchell, Aged Care Art, and Steve and Jayne Murray, Vintage Mobile Coffee. (Photo by Barry Searle)

Contributing to an artistic ‘festival of hope’ for drought farmers were school students from Brigidine College, Indooroopilly, Jemima Davies, Tara Bissett and Elise Cotteril with, from left, Buderim musician Ken O’Flaherty, Vanessa Bissett, Jim Bowden, writer, Tina Mitchell, Aged Care Art, and Steve and Jayne Murray, Vintage Mobile Coffee. (Photo by Barry Searle)

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Rag dolls keep giving to raise drought awareness.

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A paddock on a property in the outer-Brisbane suburb of Mount Crosby was turned into a ‘festival of hope’ by a group of artists, musicians, writers, teachers, nurses from the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital and schoolchildren to raise funds for drought relief, last Thursday.

A catalogue of paintings, framed photographs, books and wood artefacts were among many items in an auction that raised more than $5000 for drought-hit farmers – with more funds pledged.

The funds will be distributed to Rural Aid Ltd’s ‘Buy a Bale’ drought relief program.

The event was a “passionate project” by creative Irish-born lass Vanessa Bissett from County Cork who first set out to raise funds for those in need by making and selling hundreds of rag dolls for the cause.

The dolls, dressed for Vanessa by members of the Maroochydore QCWA, were offered at the festival as a package that included a children’s book, Cousin Jim’s Bush Rhymes for Younger Minds, written in verse by former Queensland Country Life associate editor Jim Bowden.

“My first sample doll was the beginning of a dream to help those less fortunate, a dream that materialised from a dark time when I lost my father to leukaemia,” Vanessa said.

“My hope now is to sell 100 dolls a week to help buy bales of hay for the farmers.”

Vanessa calls them “the dolls that keep giving” and says each rag doll sold will create a special awareness of the tough times that Queensland farmers often experience.

The paddock for the ‘festival of hope’ was the exact site of the last log haul by bullocky Jack Holt who transported hoop pine, red cedar and rosewood logs cut from surrounding forests to the nearby Moggill Creek Rafting Ground.

Chained together, they were then floated one kilometre down the Brisbane River to timer mills in the Brisbane colonial settlement.

By 1876, all the red cedar and most of the hoop pine in the region was depleted. Timber getting continued regularly during the 20th Century up to World War Two.

Anyone interested in purchasing a rag doll and the children’s rhyme book should contact Vanessa Bissett on 0447 115 851 or email vbissett29@gmail.com

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