Baradine is a small rural community in north-west NSW. The town has a population of approx. 760 and it is an ageing community due to most young people leaving town to find employment or to undertake further study. The town has two schools which combined cater for approximately 140 students.
Baradine had a strong sawmilling/timber industry until recent years. The government changed the logging allowances within the nearby Pilliga Forest (largest natural pine forest in Australia) and the timber industry was no longer viable or possible. Slowly the industry has died, which has resulted in more and more people leaving town to seek re-employment.
Baradine has always had a go-get-em attitude. Whatever the community has wanted it has fought for. For example, raising enough money to build a new doctors surgery, buy the doctors house and contribute to other health projects. However, sadly in recent years a few of the local businesses have had to close due to the downturn in business.
Now the main industry is agriculture. Farms around the district vary greatly from rich fertile soils to sandy soils (nearer the forest). Most farms are a mix of cropping and grazing (sheep and cattle).
The district has generally been dry and below rainfall amounts for years. At present, the days are long, dry and dusty! The weather is already warm and water is now becoming an issue for many farmers of the district. Summer is encroaching and the situation will only become much more dire.
Some farmers have de-stocked early, however a large number are hand feeding their stock and trying to hold on for as long as possible. The problem if they de-stock completely is that they can not afford to re-purchase when the dry breaks and they've rid themselves of future income. When droughts do break it takes years to recover financially.
Droughts do not just hurt the farmers, it hurts the whole community.
Communities struggle as people don't have time or money to support events, mental health issues rise (even though you will not hear many farmers complain as they are well aware everyone is suffering), schools are affected as people leave the district to find work & those that have businesses associated with agriculture struggle to get by too (ie. shearers, contractors, farm hands, etc).
The Baradine Country Women's Association introduced the Drought Aid Pantry which is open every day from 10am - 1pm and it has been a god-send to many families. The ladies are doing a fabulous job of offering the districts farming families support through groceries (pantry staples), vouchers to spend in local business (through the generosity of donations), and support through friendship, a cuppa and a chat.
At this moment (start of October) the CWA Drought Aid Pantry is supporting 124 families, who have 'visited' the pantry over 753 times. The pantry has been running for 70 days and has clocked up over 638 volunteer hours by the elderly CWA ladies. Information can be found on the Baradine CWA Facebook page.
HOW WE CAN HELP
Windaroo Lakes would love to support the CWA Drought Aid Pantry and are calling for donations of either pre-paid EFTPOS or VISA cards, cash or non-perishable food items which will be hand delivered by a small team of representatives from the community in late November 2018.
Please help us to help this strong and hard working community this Christmas. Every little bit helps.
Thank you for taking the time to read their story, we hope to make this Christmas one to remember.
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