In yet another gesture showing the wide community concern surrounding the wellbeing of graziers and their communities in drought, the south eastern community of Woodford has raised over $3000 to go towards the efforts of the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners.
The instigator was Pam Hession, who runs the canteen at the weekly cattle sales and who was motivated by television coverage of families breaking down.
She decided to make lunch one Monday recently much bigger than usual, enlisting her grandaughter to promote the cause on social media, which resulted in donations of ingredients from a number of local businesses, from the buyers and agents operating at the sale, and a $1000 cash donation from the operator of the D’Aguilar Hotel.
It resulted in dozens of people getting their first taste of cattle being sold as a last resort.
“Coming here each week, you hear people’s stories and what they’re going through,” Pam said.
“A lot of people have run out of water and so they’ve had to sell every animal on the place.
“They come in and watch them sold, then they’re very sad because they’ve got to go home and they’ve got nothing.”
Pam said there was empathy for people further west, when they had to bring their own cattle in and walk away, even if their acreages and cattle numbers weren’t as substantial.
It’s a similar story for the publican, James “Cricket” Mitchell, who spent 15 years at Aramac, where his family owned the local hotel.
“Droughts have always been going on – we had ponies and we had to take them somewhere to find grass – but now there’s social media,” he said. “These days there’s a lot more awareness. Although everybody’s been suffering, now everybody knows about it.”