Lithgow sends drought assistance: Help on its way to Toorawenah

HELPING OUT: Ollie Fitzgerald, 3, and Huck Phillips, 2, with some of the donations made so far. Picture: KIRSTY HORTON.

HELPING OUT: Ollie Fitzgerald, 3, and Huck Phillips, 2, with some of the donations made so far. Picture: KIRSTY HORTON.

Practical help is on its way for drought-affected farmers in the west of the state and the project’s Lithgow organisers hope to get plenty of people on board. 

Leanne Fitzgerald and Peter Phillips travelled to Tooraweenah on Thursday, August 9, to speak to people on the ground. 

They are organising a large-scale trek to the Western NSW centre on September 21-23 to deliver supplies, labour, machinery and tradies to carry out work on local farms. 

“We chose Tooraweenah because they’ve got no water. It has been in drought for six years, not just the last 12 months,” Leanne said. 

A group of about 80 people have already signalled their interest in being part of the group to make the trip, camping at the showground, the caravan park and at the local pub while they help out on local farms.

There will be entertainment offered, with the Lithgow Highland Pipe Band to play one night at the Tooraweenah pub.

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And there are plenty of opportunities for more to get involved. Truck drivers are particularly in demand. 

“It all started when my husband [Barry] put up a Facebook post about helping farmers,” Leanne said. 

“And there were so many people saying they would love to do something that this all started.”

Since the launch of the Facebook site, ‘Helping Farmers in the Central West’, on July 31, Leanne said the “phone hasn't stopped”. 

The project, which is entirely administered by volunteers, is aiming to carry out two major drops of goods a year to farmers in need, as well as hosting smaller working bees at farms around the Lithgow and Oberon districts. 

The team is accepting goods and vouchers, hay and water. 

“If people would like to donate cash, they can talk to us about it, because we want to make sure that the money is spent locally [at Tooraweenah]. We don’t want the shops there to suffer,” Leanne said. 

Part of the purpose of Thurday’s trip was to make sure that the project could have input from key stakeholders from the Tooraweenah farming community: farmers, the publican, the local petrol station, the supermarket etc. 

Packages are being put together for distribution targeting basic household and stock needs, children’s supplies (such as nappies) and women’s hampers. 

To find out how you can help, contact Leanne on 0404 264 591. A full list of drop-off points will be included on our website and in Tuesday’s edition. 

Where you can drop off 

  • Bathurst: Panorama Design Solutions; Scallywags Childcare Centre
  • Blackheath: Blackheath Newsagency
  • Hampton: Hampton Public School
  • Lithgow: Barry Fitzgerald Electrical at 31 Fullagar Avenue; Belles Wicked Nails at Marrangaroo; Bliss Hair Creations at Lithgow Valley Plaza; Blue Fox on Main Street; Lake Lyell Recreation Park on Magpie Hollow Road; Landsdowne Hotel on Main Street; Onelia’s Place on Main Street; R&K Gas Supply on Chifley Road; Top to End Hair Studio on Main Street. 
  • Marrickville: Marrickville Tennis Club. 

Dob in a farmer

Contact Leanne to ‘Dob in a Farmer’ within the district who may need the help of volunteers for labour jobs. The first of these working bees will be held on August 25, to help out an elderly landholder with their fences. 

Capertee Hall fundraiser

Pull on your boots and help raise funds at the Capertee Hall on August 26. 

Please bring a plate and BYO drinks. There will be door prizes and plenty of fun to be had from 12pm. Funds will go towards the Helping Farmers in the Central West appeal.