Well,well, well, this was a Birdsville experience with a difference, and while we still have a lot of paperwork to complete to get our final results accurate, I can only praise the whole team for a great effort under extremely difficult conditions.
It was exactly 14 long days from picking up the main truck at 8am on Friday 26th to our delivering it back last night at 6pm. We sold 98% of our food, very little water, and some merchandise. We did have a great team, we also had three exchange students who would have had the experience of a lifetime from our eyes, but I am not quite sure how they will describe it.
We had one very generous team members who provided Maike (Germany –Jimboomba), Eve (France –Beaudesert) and Kira (Austria-E Club) with the opportunity of a scenic flight over the area plus an opportunity to see a large part of Queensland, but I suspect they may have slept some of the way. (Lucky them)
The E Club also presented Frontier Services Team leader Sunni with the Trauma Teddies. Frontier services provide Medical and pastoral care to an area from Innamincka to Bedourie and Sunni is based in Cunnamulla. We also provided them with Bread Rolls and Bread as they were staying on in Birdsville for training purposes.
Our enterprising Exchange students were very active with the Shake a Can collections, many interesting stories came to light, and once again we were receiving very good feedback about our food, the food production run ran like clockwork, everybody was active and right there when we needed them.
The E Club made a donation to the value of $4500 to the Birdsville State School P &C in the form of 2880 bottles of water that we did not sell for the RFDS. We really owe Karin and Benji a great thank you for their generosity supplying us with water , and the Teachers and students were really impressed with their generosity, The have $25000 raised towards their new playground equipment, and their fund raising effort for the races was down in revenue due to lower crowd numbers.
We also donated, thanks to the McLean /Yarker team, a good quality slightly used BBQ to the Pre School Group, along with a gas bottle to complete the set. The Diamantina Council staff are really appreciative of our efforts in this community, and plans are still in progress for the E Club to take a leading role with the erection of the playground equipment hopefully this coming winter.
In the early hours of Thursday morning the rain started, Thursday was our first selling day, and it was a bleak wet cold day with small sales. Thursday night the wind rocked the tents, rain poured in and at 3 30 am our marquee had 200mm water running through it. We made food sales available at 8am and we had a good day, Saturday was sunny and another good day of sales Sunday was the same, and Monday morning we did breakfast plus bulk sales and around 1pm we commenced the pack up operation.
The efforts of the local Council workers, emergency workers – some from Mt Isa – the RFDS medical team, The QAS, and the Police needs to acknowledged and understood, as most of Friday was spent relocating all the out of town area campers to higher ground around the town, and this included removing their bogged vehicles and caravans, and many a tent was just left in shreds where it stood.
On Tuesday early as campers left the town, they were leaving their tents for others to use, as many people were waiting for the Roads to open. We left Birdsville as a group at 11.15 and headed to Bedourie, Boulia. Winton, Longreach, Barcaldine, Blackall, Augathella, and then re-joined our planned route at Morven to get home by Thursday night.
The southern state visitors and WA people have a massive journey in front of them, as a lot of Inland NSW benefitted from the rain and roads are closed. On Friday there was a rescue from the Track where after 4 days the van and car were left bogged, and the occupants brought into Birdsville.
The country side throughout Western and Central Qld now looks magnificent, but in reality it is a lot of flower growth with time needed for stock food to come through, but where the big problem now lies is most properties are destocked and don’t have the finances to restock. This rain is not an answer to any of the issues of the bush just yet; we cannot just switch off with our focus on our Country friends. Somehow funding has to be made available to help the smaller stations restock and recover .The interesting thing this year as opposed to the past three years is the only movement is cattle trucks and farm machinery, there is no mining machinery moving anywhere now, so it’s back to Bush to recover and help Australia keep its credit rating intact.
There will be more reports in due course; right now I just thank our whole magnificent team who went for the ride, and those two families who did a lot of the prep work, thanks guys. We also thank Janine and Linda from the RFDS Brisbane base who braved these conditions too.