Local Rotary Supports Drought-Devastated Country Towns

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Rotary is a great social organisation, and sometimes we carry out a project which provides a huge amount of satisfaction.

In December, members and friends of Wallacia-Mulgoa Valley Rotary visited a pair of NSW country towns which are being drastically affected by the big drought – Rylstone and Kandos, located a little south of Mudgee.

Our Club has ‘adopted’ these towns as part of a broader project of Rotary District 9675, which stretches from Sydney and the coast to St Marys and Wallacia-Mulgoa.

We all know that farmers in most areas of New South Wales are being devastated by this long drought. But so too are the towns which support them. If the farmers have no money to spend, the local businesses – ranging from produce merchants and farm equipment suppliers to cafes and dress shops – are also suffering or going broke.

In Rylstone we found tasty, wholesome meals in cafes and clubs, and had fun buying up big at markets offering local produce. In opportunity shops, we found an amazing array of items, including some great Christmas gift ideas. We spent all the money we could afford.

A local grazier, Gary, showed us around his property. He explained that, although there had been rain in November and some grass (and weeds) had sprung up, unless there was follow-up rain in December-January, the paddocks would become brown and barren again, which they now are.

Standing by his haystack, Gary described how the price of hay had escalated due to its scarcity. Sadly, they see little sign of hay offerings from the big bush charities. When hay is offered for the taking, it is all too often claimed by those who have the least need, while the neediest farmers are often too proud to ask.

As Gary was pulling out a handful of hay, his fellow Rotarian warned, “Step back fast, Gary” and a brown snake slithered past where Gary had been standing.

We have sent several thousand dollars to the Rotary Club of Rylstone-Kandos to distribute to those with the most need. A donation of $500 will supply a farm household with domestic water for six months.

Our donations have been generously supplied by the Luddenham Show Committee, Luddenham church markets, a South Penrith building suppliers’ company and our own Rotary Club and its members.

At Luddenham Show on the first weekend in March, we will have buckets inviting people to chip in for more support to go to these towns.

For information about Rotary, contact Jan 0428 289919, Kay 0416 256506 or Roger 4721 5068 (business).

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