VOLLIES: Blazing a trail of 99km of fencing since bushfires

ABOVE: BlazeAid camp coordinator Spud Murphy (centre) with the volunteers. Photo: Susanna Freymark

Susanna Freymark

For 2789 days, BlazeAid volunteers have been helping fix fences on rural properties destroyed in the bushfires.
BlazeAid camp coordinator Ron “Spud” Murphy said most of the volunteers are ‘grey nomads’.

There are 17 volunteers camped at the Casino Showground.

“We drop as low as five volunteers and get up to 30,” Spud said.
“We’re hoping to get a couple more volunteers come in next week because we still have a couple of big jobs to finish.”
The work the vollies do isn’t easy.
“I need experienced fencers,” Spud said. “It’s not something you can just jump in and do.”
BlazeAid came to Richmond Valley in November 2019 after the bushfires.
They have erected 99km of fencing and once they finish a few final jobs, they’ll be heading to Tenterfield.
Spud is ex-army and lives at Roxborough in Queensland when he isn’t coordinating BlazeAid.

The biggest issue has been covid lockdowns.

“We’re disappointed how long it’s taking because of covid. Vollies don’t come across the border,” he said.
The charity organisation had to shut down last year and returned early this year.
Since they returned, they have 73 farmers on their books that need help and have started 57 jobs, finished 46 and cleared 84km of fence line.
Two volunteers from Tasmania have been with the Casino BlazeAid camp for two years.
If you are keen to volunteer for BlazeAid in Casino call Spud on 0414 088 251.
Ron “Spud” Murphy with BlazeAid volunteers at the Casino Showground camp. Photo: Robert Mustow

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