In the 2019-2020 bushfire season, over 500,000 hectares of land burned in the Snowy Monaro region of New South Wales. Properties in the rural towns of Bombala and Bumbalong were destroyed, and the lives of many of our farmers were completely upended. Our Outback Links program partnered with the NRMA to send volunteers to lend a hand on 11 properties over a period of 8 days.
Arriving at bushfire-decimated towns can be quite confronting even 12 months after the blaze. You can still see brutal damage to the land and in the hearts of many Aussie farmers. Many residents of Bombala and Bumbalong felt forgotten after the devastation, that is why we show up and show we care with the help of your incredible support.
Our Outback Links volunteers hit the ground running, as we split the group of volunteers to support 5 different bushfire-affected properties. The volunteers worked tirelessly on each property for 3 solid days, assisting with fencing, gardening, mechanical repairs, practical assistance, and any other job that our friends of the Snowy Monaro region needed.
As much as they were physically exhausted, their hearts were filled with gratification, satisfaction, and a sense of achievement to be part of the way forward for those who felt they were at their wit’s end.
A few of the NRMA volunteers had taken part in our Outback Links programs before, but the rest were unsure what to expect at the beginning of the trip. Like many of us who live near big cities, it can be hard to understand the isolation and preparation involved with living in regional and remote Australia. When we need to run to the shop for emergency supplies or building materials, it’s never more than a few kilometers away. But for our friends out bush, it’s not as easy. One of the volunteers captured this reality when she said:
“I live in the city where everything is so accessible, you don’t really have to think everything through, where here, they have to plan everything and have a backup. It’s not easy.”
In just a few short days, our Outback Links volunteers eased the load for so many residents in Bombala and Bumbalong. For volunteers Kim and Sarah, it was important as Sydneysiders to go out to the country and work alongside the people of the land, and assist them with getting back on their feet after a disaster. Their visit reassured residents of the Snowy Monaro that they weren’t forgotten, and had the full support of Frontier Services. Both the NRMA volunteers and the farmers they visited gained much more than they expected at the start of the week – long lists of jobs had been ticked off and lifelong friendships were formed.
Hear from Kim and Sarah about how impactful their trip as Outback Links volunteers truly was.