Fencing volunteers come to the rescue

08 Apr, 2017 02:00 AM
BlazeAid volunteer Vern came from New South Wales to help farmers in the Shire of Lake Grace repair flood damaged fences.
BlazeAid volunteer Vern came from New South Wales to help farmers in the Shire of Lake Grace repair flood damaged fences.

AS the damage bill from recent heavy flooding is still being calculated in the Lake Grace region there is also a silver-fenced lining.

Dozens of volunteers from across the country have set up camp at the Lake King Sporting Pavilion to help farmers rebuild fence lines that were damaged when more than 200 millimetres of rain fell in just four February days.

The much-needed assistance was organised by BlazeAid, a volunteer-based national organisation that works with regional Australians to rebuild fences and other structures that are damaged or destroyed by natural disasters.

Lake King camp co-ordinator Eddie Bland said a group of 22 volunteers were in the region, working to repair approximately 60 kilometres of fence line.

"We were invited down here by the Shire of Lake Grace to give these farmers a hand with the floods that went down through and took a big strip, probably 20km wide," he said.

"It's gone north of Lake Grace right down through the Ravensthorpe Shire, Hopetoun and out into the ocean and has made just one heck of a mess."

Mr Bland said 17 farmers had registered for assistance and the team was about half way through its program, with hopes to complete fence reparations in three to four weeks.

He said accessing damaged fences had been a major obstacle.

"Our biggest challenge has been the wet because we've got roads closed where we've got to detour.

"There are a couple of big lakes here and we can't get around them, so the farmers have been kind enough to let us go through their paddocks to get to their neighbours."

Mr Bland said unlike fire damaged fences, a lot of flood-affected lines could be recovered once straw and sediment was removed, an activity that had proven quite laborious.

"It has certainly been a bit of a challenge at times for them (volunteers), they come home pretty tired at night."

BlazeAid volunteers were fixing fences on Ravensthorpe farmer Owen Grahame's property last week.

Mr Grahame said their help relieved pressure ahead of a busy time of the year.

"They've done about three days and they've done an excellent job, it's just sort of allowed us to get on with getting ready for seeding," Mr Grahame said.

Newdegate grower Bob Iffla said flood-affected farmers in the area were grateful for the support.

"It's a great initiative from those who are doing it, they're volunteers and I think that's absolutely unreal how you get this sort of help," Mr Iffla said.

Mr Bland said the local community had made the job a smooth process, and their gratitude had not gone unnoticed.

"They've been excellent, they've been absolutely marvellous with bringing in food and stuff like that and the response from them has been unbelievable.

"They're just so glad that we're here to give them a hand or else they'd never get on top of it.

"We're happy to be here."

BlazeAid will set up camp in Ravensthorpe on completion of reparation works in the Shire of Lake Grace, where a further 15 applicants have registered for assistance.



Screen name *
Email address *
Remember me?
Comment *


light grey arrow
Rusty...A shearing shed on a small place, might be used a week to five each year. 50 years down
light grey arrow
No varieties of barley left in WA suitable for Craft Beer production and little research. Craft
light grey arrow
We farm at Beacon we had no rain last time .Since the 1st of Jan.we have recorded 45 mm ,6mm