Veterans lend a hand for drought

Grunts Australia members offering practical drought support at Blackall-Tambo


The Big Dry
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The communities of Blackall and Tambo are the latest beneficiaries of the concern of the wider world as the drought drags on.

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Grunts Australia: Vietnam veteran and Blackall resident, Jack Duiker, was one of those welcoming Charles Fraser and Wayne Lampard, the two ex-Army servicemen who have begun a stock feed run for Tambo and Blackall regions. Picture: Sally Cripps.

Grunts Australia: Vietnam veteran and Blackall resident, Jack Duiker, was one of those welcoming Charles Fraser and Wayne Lampard, the two ex-Army servicemen who have begun a stock feed run for Tambo and Blackall regions. Picture: Sally Cripps.

The communities of Blackall and Tambo are the latest beneficiaries of the concern of the wider world as the drought drags on, receiving a gift of eight tonnes of stock feed last week.

The generous gesture has been made by a group calling itself the Western Queensland Stock Feed Run, begun by two veterans from Queensland’s south east.

Charles Fraser, based at the Gold Coast, and Tamborine’s Wayne Lampard said they just knew there was a need and wanted to do something.

“We were hearing on the news that farmers don’t have any income and I asked what needed to be done,” Wayne said. “Donating often takes too much administering so I decided to start this.”

“This” has resulted in a Facebook page where the call to arms was made and donations sourced.

Related: Blackall in survival mode

While generous people throughout the Scenic Rim and the Gold Coast answered the call, it also attracted support from as far away as Geelong, Western Australia and even Brunei.

They were responding to the sentiment expressed by Wayne on the page: “I had enough of the I want to do something to..... I am going to do something regardless.”

They have also been supported by Grunts Australia, a military motorcycle club dedicated to serving and retired infantry and special forces members.

The hay, dog food and pony pellets were bought by the pair, loaded and brought out at their expense, with trucks donated for the cause.

Even a drover they passed along the way received a gift of dog nuts.

Charles said they would continue the initiative for as long as he received the support and there was a need.

He has also been speaking with local CWA presidents about the possibility of a lunch to give residents a chance to leave their stresses behind for a short while.

Explaining why the two central western communities have become the beneficiaries, Charles said they pulled up a map of the severely affected area, and decided that everyone forgot the middle child.

“I found Blackall-Tambo and touched base with the council,” he said.

They intend on returning on September 15, and are also keen to bring the western communites together with their southern supporters via Skype for a fundraiser taking place at the Shearers Arms Tavern in Ormeau this weekend.

Blackall-Tambo mayor, Andrew Martin, said one of the great antidepressants was hope, and that came from people showing they cared.

“We are so appreciative of their big hearts and energy,” he said. “They’re part of our community already.”

For the upcoming delivery, Cr Martin said the Blackall Livestock Agents Association would be managing distribution and the council would assist with the site and machinery.

Read more: Hay Runners keep the dream alive at Blackall

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