Brendan Farrell is going “a hundred miles an hour” in the lead-up to the 2019 Australia Day hay run.
The Burrumbuttock Hay Runners founder has spent months, weeks and a frantic past few days marshalling the troops ahead of Thursday’s roll-out of big rigs from Darlington Point, NSW to Quilpie in Queensland.
Hay has slowly but surely filled depots at South Australia, Horsham, Echuca and Burrumbuttock ahead of the 14th hay run to support drought-stricken farmers in the outback.
During the past year, the feisty truckie has bargained, bartered and begged for help from his fellow Australians.
He’s taken aim at governments and bureaucracies he believes are turning a blind eye to the savagery of the most crippling drought in the country’s history.
It galvanises this bristling, blustering bloke who doesn’t gladly suffer fools, bleeding hearts or wannabe heroes.
“I just want to see 500 of my good mates join me to put one good show on the road,” he said when he announced this year’s Quilpie trip.
He also wants to see a lot more attention focused on the plight of farmers.
“The only thing that has left the drought is the media,” he said in a video post on Facebook last week.
“Four months ago it was a big topic … we have to make sure our city cousins understand it hasn’t rained.”
He urged the media to “get back in the outback, do a quick update, (and) go and see some farmers that are still struggling.”
On Tuesday, Mr Farrell’s Burrumbuttock farm was a hive of activity as volunteers loaded trucks with pallets of dog food donated by Mars Petcare Wodonga in addition to precious fodder for stock.
Other semi-trailers will carry more than $10,000 worth of toys – from cricket bat sets to Lego and Nerf guns – for children in outback communities.
Mr Farrell said he’d been “working fairly hard for the kids this run” and thanked staff at Big W Lavington who stayed behind after work recently to load trolleys filled with boxes of goodies.
The massive truck convoy is set to leave from Darlington Point at 6am Thursday and stop overnight at Cunnamulla before arriving in Quilpie about lunch time Friday.
On Saturday, hay will be delivered to producers at Quilpie, Thargomindah and Eulo before a special Australia Day concert at the racecourse that night.
Mr Farrell, who received a 2018 Queen’s birthday award, insists the success of every hay run rests on having “a good crew behind you”.
- Jodie O’Sullivan will join the hay run to Quilpie – follow The Border Mail’s Facebook page for regular updates from the road.