YOU don’t have to look far to find an Australian that is willing to give a mate a hand.
Many go unnoticed and are truly humble in their actions.
“It’s just what we do,” says Chris Nixon from Newmerella.
He is a true Australian and everyone that meets him feels like they have known him for years, a genuine, kind soul who would give you the shirt off his back and then some.
With the devastation of the East Gippsland fires, farmers were cut off when roads became impassable by fallen burnt trees.
It was becoming increasingly difficult to get fodder in to feed the livestock.
Agriculture Victoria has been facilitating the delivery of donated fodder. Sometimes there is only a small window of opportunity.
In one example, notification came at 6pm on January 18 and by 9am the next day, Chris had organised five trucks loaded and ready to be escorted by Australian Defence Force, dropping hay off at Noorinbee, Wingan River and Genoa through to Mallacoota to feed cattle that had been stranded for quite some time.
At the drop-off points, local groups of farmers organised the unloading and distribution to all those in need.
Chris offered his property as a staging area for the delivery of donated hay from around various areas and the dispatch of the hay to the isolated communities.
Some of these were still inaccessible by road and assistance was sought from the Australian Defence Force.
Their airwing section has delivered three to four rolls at a time to remotely stranded livestock, when weather and smoke clears enough to enable flights.
On January 26, an Australian Defence Force transport convoy headed out of Newmerella with 70 bales of hay loaded by local farmers and co-ordinated by Chris Nixon and Royston Nettleton.
Three other trucks driven by volunteer drivers joined the convoy as it passed through Orbost carrying a further 105 bales.
The destination was to the Bonang area at various strategic locations to as far as Goongerah.
An Agriculture Victoria vehicle with drivers Grant Rawlin (Ag Vic Vet) and Ellyssia Watts (local knowledge) accompanied the convoy carrying bags of small animal feed and supplies for the Goongerah community that has been isolated in recent weeks.
This trip was over 200kms long as the normal route was inaccessible. They had to go through the top end – through NSW.
After staying overnight, they headed back today. A huge thanks to all involved including the admin staff, drivers, loaders and everyone who had a part in this mission – thank you.