They Have Little But Took Us In and Fed Us, That Is The Aussie Farmer Spirit
Kind, welcoming and in desperate need of our help.
Families in the bush are already doing it tough with the drought, but now we’re seeing young Australians making huge sacrifices- their education.
Parents are struggling so much they're having to make the heartbreaking decision to pull their child or children out of school because they simply can’t afford it, or because they’re desperate for help back home on the land.
But despite these setbacks, many people in the outback remain welcoming, friendly and hospitable. They find strength- from somewhere- to not only carry on themselves, but be kind to others.
Fifth generation graziers Andrew and Kate Gray openly invited us into their property in Texas Queensland, which is on the border of New South Wales. They told us their story of having no income for six months, and the costs of putting their four children through boarding school- because they have no other choice.
In many cases, boarding school is the only option for those on the land who want to further their education. Surrounding schools can be hours away, and distance education often isn’t suitable and can leave students feeling more isolated than ever.
But in true Aussie spirit, Andrew and Kate spoke about their battle over a home cooked lunch- pizza from their wood-fired oven.
We spent most of Sunday afternoon filming with the family and their cattle, but after that we were welcomed inside for a country dinner. If that wasn’t enough, the Grays then offered us a place to sleep.
We had booked in to the local hotel on the high street but a large group of motorcycle riders on a charity run had also checked in, meaning we probably wouldn’t get much sleep- so we took the Grays up on their offer.
We also met grazier Kim Hamel and his son William at their property further south of Texas’ town centre.
Twelve-year-old William wants to be a doctor and he is planning on attending boarding school at the end of this year. The family don’t have much money, but again, they have little choice as there are no nearby schools.
So despite their struggles, the Hamels are doing what they can to try to make it work.
They went from 80 head of cattle to 45 because of the drought and they’re sometimes getting 80-90 cents a kilogram for the stock, instead of the usual $3.50.
They’re also selling planted succulents and kindling at the local markets to make some extra cash, just doing what they can to get by.
Kim isn’t sure how long he can survive on the land at the moment- he fears it could be only a month, if the rain comes, they could be ok. But they’ll need more than just a downpour. A drought like this will take years to recover from.
Despite trying times, the Hamels also invited us in to tell their story, they’re determined to give William the future he dreams of and deserves.
Kim made us coffee and gave us a succulent each as a gift- thanking us for trying to help share their story.
We wouldn’t have taken the gift without a donation back, as despite their generosity, the Hamels need to save every cent.
But it is times like these, that it’s so important to share these very real and human stories from the land.
We feel privileged to have met these wonderful people and hope it will lead to a greater understanding of the cost and sacrifice of this drought, and just how difficult it is for the good people in our outback.
Every day they’re praying for rain.
If you want to help Australian farmers in need, you can donate to a registered charity. Donate online to Rural Aid's Buy a Bale, Drought Angels, Aussie Helpers or Lions' Need for Feed. You can also support farmers by buying Australian grown produce at your local supermarket.