Outback Links Volunteers
Wendy and Ross Groves have benefited from Outback Links volunteers since the inception of the program. With two properties to run, totalling 190,000 acres, they value the much needed support, friendship and respite our volunteers provide.
The daily tasks of looking after the homes, watering the gardens, feeding the dogs, chooks and sometimes up to 800 cattle or a couple of thousand ewes, on their properties as well as making sure the animals have access to sufficient drinking water every day often mean some things around the home and property are put on the ‘waiting list’.
Wendy recalls a time when they needed to repaint the exterior of one of the homes but simply didn’t have the time, or the expertise, so they called out to Frontier Services. “Jim must’ve really loved painting because he didn’t stop smiling and working the entire two weeks, and along with Carol transformed the house with a new coat of paint.”
“I was so grateful for the friendship we made that year.”
The isolation of remote living can also take its toll spiritually. Wendy said there was a point where she felt so disconnected from her faith it was like holding her breath.
“Being Christian, living remotely without regular church or fellowship, had me feeling really spiritually dry,” she said. “We’re over 300km from the nearest church and I longed for Bible Study.”
Fortunately for Wendy in 2007, Outback Links volunteer couple Rod and Judy Green shared in her faith. While Rod was out on the property with Ross, Judy and Wendy worked together to prepare a scrapbook of photos for Ross’ 50th birthday.
“It was during this time that Judy and I shared different bible verses and prayed together, and I was being refreshed spirituality,” Wendy said. “I was so grateful for the friendship we made that year.”
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Managing two properties
For Ross, property life runs deep through his veins. Two of his brothers and late father were all graziers. It was this passion that lead him to purchase the second property in 2011. Outback Links volunteers were there again, this time to build a deck, paint some of the rooms, replace broken doors and fly screens, help in the garden, and general maintenance.
“…we feel really blessed to get help from Frontier Services…”
With the challenge of managing two properties 70km apart, the south-west Queensland couple (pictured below at Cooper’s Creek at Coniston Station) often find they barely have time to spend together, so they value the respite our volunteers provide.
“It’s not easy for us to be away for longer than 24 hours because of the day to day needs,” Wendy said. “So we feel really blessed to get help from Frontier Services when we need it.”
Making a dream come true
This year, with a special birthday looming, Wendy made a call to Outback Links for volunteers to look after the properties so she and Ross could spend some time with her son, who flies helicopters in Broome (pictured inset).
“When I spoke with Michelle at Frontier Services about Outback Links I told her ‘this isn’t an emergency, just a dream’,” she said. “A dream to go to Broome for the first time and be with my son to celebrate my 60th.”
Fortunately, we were able to make her dream come true, with volunteer couple James and Kerrie driving all the way from the Blue Mountains to look after Clifton and Coniston Stations. Not only did they care take both properties, it rained while they were there which was welcomed with great joy.
“It’s an amazing gift, just to give your time and friendship.”
“From our perspective, we get so much from the volunteers,” Wendy said. “We’ve had help with mustering, fencing, gardening, building the ‘Number One Chook Pen’, replacing the Shearers’ Quarters yard, painting, care-taking, and numerous other tasks too many to name.”
“Some of the yarns around the dinner table relating new experiences, fresh scenery and outback adventures make for hearty laughter as friendships are forged.”
“It speaks volumes about people’s generosity of spirit. It’s an amazing gift, just to give your time and friendship.”
“It would be impossible to name all the Outback Links Volunteers who have given so much to us since our first placement, Bruce and Lorraine and Frank and Wendy, Melbourne; through Geoff and Roz, Port Macquarie; Alan and Lorraine, McLaren Vale; Kevin and Margaret, Sunshine Coast; Keith, Daisy Hill, who was here during flooding; Greg, Mudgeeraba; Ron and Gwen, Lismore. We are ever grateful for their generosity, hard work, friendship and also for keeping in touch. We trust you have been blessed by your participation in the Outback Links program as much as we’ve been honoured to have your help.”
Outback Links volunteers bring hope and resources to those living in remote Australia. They are passionate people whose impact can last long after their placement.
You can support Aussie Farmers today by making a donation to keep our Outback Links program running.