Christmas relief for Sir Ivan Bushfire victims

Almost $1 million dollars has this week been distributed to the victims of the Sir Ivan Bushfire, which burned through 55,000 hectares of farming-land in the state’s central west earlier this year.

The Sir Ivan Bushfire Appeal, a joint initiative of the NSW Farmers’ Merriwa Branch and the Merriwa Show Association, raised a total of $915, 345.91 for the Dunedoo, Leadville, Coolah and Cassilis communities.

Chair of the NSW Farmers’ Merriwa Branch, Pat Ryan, said the Appeal organisers were thrilled to be distributing the funds in the lead up to Christmas.

“Finally we have some good news for the bushfire affected communities after a very tough few months.

“Fortunately no human lives were lost during this awful fire but five thousand head of sheep and cattle were destroyed, along with homes, machinery, sheds, farm equipment and a significant amount of fencing.

“There’s still a long road ahead for the people and the communities that are rebuilding homes and businesses but we have no doubt the money raised will give a much needed boost.

“We’ve seen communities coming together like never before and an outpouring of generosity that will never be forgotten,” Mr Ryan said.

Donations to the appeal were in the form of cash, livestock, feed and grain along with ear tags, vaccines and freight.  

“Over 200 cash donations were made, from school children giving their pocket money right through to corporations writing cheques for tens of thousands of dollars. Cash donations totalled $400,000 and that money was used to purchase 337 cattle, which were added to the donated livestock for finishing in the feedlot,” Mr Ryan said.

The uniqueness of the appeal was that the generosity of Alexander Downs feedlot- through the use of their resources- meant the net effect of the process was to add significant value to every dollar that was donated.

“We have a lot of people to thank, first and foremost Robert Gill from Alexander Downs who was the one who came up with the idea, Tony Inder of Rockwell for arranging purchases and the sale of the livestock, Woolworths for committing to purchase the cattle and again to all those who kindly donated livestock, cash, grain, freight and other items to make this happen,” Mr Ryan said.

The funds will be distributed to more than 50 applicants who were affected by the fire. 
Date: 21 December 2017                                                                                    
Media Contact:   Kathleen Curry  | 0429 011 690