By Jed Lanyon
As the ongoing bushfire crisis continues to threaten townships across Victoria and New South Wales, many generous Yarra Valley locals have been quick to lend a helping hand.
Norton Goldfields senior haulage and processing coordinator, Angela Spencer and Healesville farm owner Brendan Kay oversaw a large hay donation transport into fire ravaged areas to help supply farmers in need on Friday 10 January.
Norton Goldfields, one of Australia’s largest domestic gold producers from the Kalgoorlie region in Western Australia, made a $20,000 donation to make the effort possible.
Mr Kay has worked with Norton Goldfields as a plant operator and truck driver and now offered his truck to transport hay into the fire grounds. He says helping out other farmers is personal for him.
“We’ve had a couple of friends up in Omeo who haven’t quite been burned out yet but it’s knocking on their door,” Mr Kay said.
Ms Spencer and Mr Kay were unsure as to how far past Bairnsdale they would be able to travel due to the hot and windy conditions on Friday 10 January.
“I’m a bit nervous about it. I have heard that today (Friday) is going to be one of the worst days that Victoria and New South Wales are facing,” Ms Spencer said, prior to leaving.
“It’s pretty emotional, I think I’m not sure what we’re getting into as of yet. I’m excited to be involved and that our company has put in so much, but I’m also wary that it’s going to be pretty full on.”
Mr Kay said that he had experience working in bushfire affected areas as he had driven his bulldozer through Licola when there were fires in the region in 2007.
“I guess I’ve got a little bit of knowledge as to what we’re going into … But it’s completely different again though. It’s going to be quite devastating to see what has happened there.”
Mr Kay estimates that 150 to 180 round hay bales will see their way to farmers in need thanks to Norton Goldfields, while he says their first trip will help them gain an understanding as to the real needs of the farmers.
“Our next load going up there might be a full load of troughs, it could be steel posts, poly pipe, and it could be absolutely anything. And that way, with Norton’s donation, we can go to our local hardware and farm supply stores and purchase posts and all that sort of stuff to help out.
“We’ve got some of the worst fires on record, there are that many farms that have lost everything, but they’ve still got some stock. It’s not just going to be for today, these guys are going to be hurting for the next two years.”
Mr Kay welcomes hay donations to his Healesville property. If you would like to show your support, contact Brendan Kay on 0400 165 139.