Southern Cross Blaze Aid March 2020
Blaze Aid 1 13-15 March 2020
I wasn’t on this trip, but I understand Saturday was a wash out due to rain. Sunday was a good work day Jeff was in a separate group and Paul and John were assigned together.
Blaze Aid 2 20 – 22 March 2020
Everyone made their way to Braidwood on the Friday afternoon and set up camp at the end of the camp area away from the caravan powered sites, a 50 metre walk to the mess hall and 100 metre walk to the shower block. Dennis and Carol were the camp hosts for BlazeAid who run a tight ship, they had all the answers to any questions we threw at them, they have been there for around 3 months and have another 3 months to go. Having completed 60 of the 160 properties. We sat down to fill in paperwork about next of kin contacts and safety requirements, a quick run down of the operation introducing us to the kitchen prep area for lunch making, and team lists which was very organised.
Dinner was served at 6.30 to around 30 people, beef pie mashed potato, and veges followed by apple strudel and custard. As it happened, there was supposed to be a great game of NRL on tv at the Royal Hotel where the Southern Cross 4wd Club indulged while keeping hydrated, further delight was had in explaining how certain teams can’t play, unfortunately some people didn’t know the rules of the game that when a player drops the ball over the line, its called a knock on. A chilly night of around 8 degrees saw me in bed around 10pm.
6am Saturday and it was breakfast time, this consisted of bacon, eggs sausages baked beans and tomato, cereal and toast. Lunch was made by ourselves with sandwiches, fruit, small chip packets etc, and with food packed in the esky and water in second esky as we gathered together. Our team consisted of Geoff, Mark and I plus 1 other with Alan the team leader, we were given a new job at Nerriga.
Alan's car had issues so I agreed to tow the 2.5 tonne trailer full of tools 50 km to the site about 5kms along a dirt track from Nerriga. This happened to be a completely burnt out house where the owner had lost everything, he is the only council worker who looks after the tip and toilets at Nerriga. At the moment the owner is living in a caravan at the tip, but a new demountable arrived as we were working, so he will soon be able to move back home, he has around 20 sheep and chickens that are temporarily caged but have limited access to feed.
500 metres of fencing needed replacing, previous wooden corner posts were burnt below ground level so setout was a bit difficult to start with. We got to work removing old fencing, and setting up corner posts for the new fences, the corner posts were put in with an auger and concreted in place, we also had to go back to Nerriga to pick up galvanised fence posts and 130 star pickets.
The new fence has barbed wire at the top and 5 runs of plain wire under. After concreting the posts in we packed up and went back to camp. Dinner again at 6.30 and a chat from the team leaders of the work done for the day with applause from everyone of a great job done, the camaraderie of the whole camp gives everyone a warm fuzzy feeling that we are making a difference to peoples lives.
The next day again at 6am for breakfast the same as yesterday and we are back on the road with hope of finishing the job. The first job was to set the barbed wire in place which gave us a straight line between posts, we continued on until 2pm. We completed 300 metres of fence and almost finished the 200 metre fence only leaving the 5 plain wires for the next group.
Another drive back to camp to pack up our own camp and have a shower and get back home.
Many thanks to our members that joined in, some people even did the 2 weekends. It was constant work with lots of walking, but it was great to get together with our club for a common cause. On top of all that , I learnt how to do wire fencing and we also met new people. We were asked when we would be coming back, so if any one wants to join in again in the next couple of months, let me know and we can organise another trip.
Mark Romer Southern Cross 4WD Club