56 Fitzroy Street, Marrickville NSW, 2204
Road Freight NSW and our members over the weekend contributed to the Water for Farmers convoy heading to Coonabarabran and Baradinein the wee hours of Saturday morning.
The convoy of 30 trucks delivered over 400 000 litres of water and hundreds of kilos of food plus donations of cash and other items.
Road Freight NSW would like to thank our members Lopez Bros Transport, UTH, Formula Chemicals, Stockwell International and our partner Daimler for their support. Just to name a few. We would also like to thank the industry for supporting this initiative of bringing much needed water to the Bush.
Chris Smith on Inside the News on Sky News ran a story on this last night with Mike Williams (OzTrucker) from UTH featuring as the organiser of the convoy.
We are looking at another water run at the end of January 2020.
Best – Simon O’Hara
Here is the report from our Chairman, Leigh Smart which I think you will find worth reading:
As everyone knows, Mike is ‘the oz trucker’ with a dream of taking some water to the country that was suffering from drought; with maybe himself and a mate.
It then grew to over 40 trucks/drivers and over 400,000L of water.
How did a simple man organize such a successful event; it is a real credit to him.
I thank him for all his time and effort. Every day he is out driving his truck for UTH Tanker Hire all over the country.
What a legend.
From an industry point of view, Road Freight NSW was represented by at least 3 of our members, namely UTH Tanker Hire, Lopez Bros and Formula.
From Formula’s perspective we came in at the tail end of the event.
We offered to fill all the IBC’s with water(approximately 150,000L) and once my staff became aware of the situation we ended up with a team made up of John, Ian, Shane, Paul, Jerome, Michael and myself that volunteered to take our trucks out on the run. There was an Irishman and two Samoans who had never been out to the country so this was a real life changing experience for them. We took our 10,000L Omni Tanker and a flat bed carrying another 14,000L of potable drinking water. We went out to our local community and asked for support which became overwhelming. This added just on 3000kg of food, drinks, presents etc. which was spread over 3 vehicles and went to Baradine CWA Food Pantry.
Arnott’s Biscuits were generous and supplied 400kg of Chocolate Wheaten and Tim Tan finger biscuits, Main Construct donated 200kg of fresh vegetables and then there was food, Christmas presents etc. donated by Melrose Park School and then donations from the general public.
One young pregnant mother accompanied by her young daughter dropped off bags of groceries and when repacking these into boxes we found the receipt which was for $250.00. Some people were really generous. She then left us to go and buy her own groceries.
Formula’s team left at 4:00am on Saturday morning to meet up with the convoy at the twin Service Station at Wyong by 6:00am.
At this stage we had just on 26 trucks ready to roll. Of course we had to have the traditional healthy truckers Big Breakfast. You wonder why so many drivers do not eat well. Fried eggs, fried bacon, fried tomatoes, fried hash browns and a few healthy mushrooms.
At this stage I would like to thank Chief Inspector Phil Brooks from the Highway Patrol Command that organized his men to arrange safe exit from the site onto the highway. Blue and red lights flashing with 5 Patrol cars closing off the exit from the Servos and a couple of cars directing the convoy onto the highway.
What an exit and the beginning of our adventure.
The convoy headed north and we picked up a couple of extra trucks at Newcastle. Our next stop was at Murrindindi.
I was at the tail end of the convoy and as far as I could see was a line of our trucks carrying water; what a sight.
This is a little town with a population of about one thousand. Level 6 Water Restrictions. No water outside, wash clothes once per week and only 100mm of water in a bathtub. The town has no water supply at all and all water has to be trucked in which costs the Town about $500K per year.
Mike gave me a phone to see if we could assist with some Pool Chlorine for the local pool as the school kids are about to start School Holidays next week. Our biggest decision was we had to unload a 1000L IBC of water and replace it with 1000L of chlorine.
On arrival we were met by a Local Council Representative and she was so grateful. Since they have to buy every litres of water I also gave them 1000L to top up the pool. They were over the moon and indicated that they will not be charging admission to the Pool until all the chlorine is consumed.
When all the bottled water was unloaded for the town the convoy headed off with all the residents lining the highway to wave farewell.
What a great feeling that we could help this little town.
We arrived at Coonabarabran at 2:00pm. We unloaded a pallet of Pool Acid for the Warrumbungle Council which we donated and after a quick bite that was put on by the local Rotary Club, we headed out to Baradine with Mikes blessing as we did not want the chocolate biscuits to melt in the 40 degree temperature. This town has about 140 farms with a population of 400. The CWA is run by one of nicest women you could ever find; Nea Worrell. Typical country women, born and bred in the area, calls a spade a spade, 4 sons with their own farms doing it pretty hard and a sick husband. She works tirelessly for the CWA. She represents what Australia use to be, a hard working farmer. Full of stories (ask her about the echidnas if you ever have a chance, but be warned) and sometimes drops the magic word that her fellow CWA members laugh at.
We unloaded the 3000kg of food and drink. Kimberlie went down to the local Bottle Shop in West Ryde to buy $500.00 worth of beer. Met 2 Tradies who thought she was having a party but when she explained what we were doing they put their hands in their pockets and pulled out another $500.00. In total we had $1000.00 worth of beer for the Farmers. Generous people and we don’t know who they were to thank them. A beer for a Farmer means a lot at this stage when they are scratching around for their next dollar.
We presented 3 cheques of $1000.00 each from AEI Insurance Brokers, HMIA Insurances and Formula Chemicals.
Nea had organized for us to take our water supplies out to several farms in the area.
What an experience. Of course we got lost; no street numbers or names. It was the 4th tree on the right then look for the big rock and it is just after that. In fact it was probably 2 kilometers away but fun in finding the farm with a convoy off 5 trucks. The first farm we arrived at had no drinking water whatsoever, there tank was bone dry. The Farmer has a boy and girl and the only water was from a bore. They showed us a sample which was pretty disgusting, brown with heaps of suspended material; really only suitable for cattle.
We pumped in 5000L of water into their tank. Their son asked his Mum if he could have a shower that night as he could not remember the last time he had a shower. It seems he is a real chocolate freak so I told him to head into the CWA Pantry to get some chocky biscuits. I believe he has been in already. Beautiful young daughter and all she wanted for Christmas was a saddle for her horse. Simple requests, none of this rubbishy I.T. stuff.
I think we left this family pretty happy.
Next stop was another farm, again, tank was empty so we topped up his tank. It was about 6:30pm at this time and the boys had already clocked up over 14 hours.
Being the hard man that I am I decided to do another farm.
This farm would break our hearts; run by a couple in their late 80’s and doing it really tough. Got rid of all their cattle except for 20. Dad has got crook knees so can’t drive the tractor any more. Been on the land all his life and does not believe in ‘climate change’; it’s bloody rubbish; its weather. He has put up with many droughts, floods and fire in his time. Totally lost their house in 2011 to the fires. Nicest couple you would ever met. We went out into their paddock to drop off 9000L of cattle water. Talking to them their was not a dry eye with any of my ‘strong’ men. You wonder how they can survive under these adverse conditions.
Several times we just had to walk away as we were really taken back. Earth shattering moment.
I dropped them back to their farmhouse and again the tears flowed. Poor buggers. What more can you throw at them.
On the way back to town the Omni Tanker got bogged in the dusty road. The dust is so fine it is like talcum powder, really fine. The rest of out team had abandoned us and with no phone service we left the truck in the middle of the dirt road in ‘no man’s land. It was now 8:30pm. We headed back for help but our team was already in the Pub washing down the dust and they had all run out of driving hours by then.
Can’t believe everything closes at 9:00pm in Coonabarabran.
Spoke nicely to the Chef to see if we could get a meal but once he knew we were the water people he made us dinner. Again, we had the staple dinner of a Truckie: the ‘snitzy’ which I now know is chicken schnitzel deep fried with chips and a bowl of gravy. Healthy meal.
The next morning part of the team headed out to tow out the bogged truck. Think what else could go wrong; that truck got bogged. Paul headed off to the Farmer we helped out the previous night and he was generous enough to lend us his tractor. Another first for team Samoa, drive a tractor which was a real experience.
They pulled out the 2 trucks and returned the tractor.
We have all been invited back at any time for a farm stay. As I said, these are wonderful people.
Back into town for the ‘truckers breakfast’ with the boys from UTH, then off to Sydney and home.
What an adventure.
A lot of tears in our eyes after talking about our experience.
We have made a decision that we will be heading back, probably on the long weekend in January 2020, either by ourselves or with our great mate, Mike and his crew.
There are heaps of photos about on everyone’s websites and Facebook; please have a look when you find time.
As I started off saying, this was a life changing event for everyone in my team. We really don’t know how lucky we really are here in the City. Don’t ever complain again about the trivial matters in your life when you understand what these poor Farmers are going through.
Just be very grateful for what you have when you think they have NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!
Sorry for the long winded email but I thought it was necessary to tell everyone of our adventure.
Chairman of Road Freight NSW
2019 Winner ATA “Outstanding Contribution to the Australian Trucking Industry”
2018 Winner Road Freight NSW “Outstanding Contribution to New South Wales Trucking Industry”.
2017 Finalist Australian Road Safety Awards; Community Program Award
2017 Finalist Australian Road Safety Awards; School Programs Award
Australian Ambassador WOW’s Kids Fiji
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