In the lead up to Peaks Challenge Falls Creek, we've pledged $5 for every finisher of the grueling 235 kilometre loop to BlazeAid – to show our support for the beautiful Alpine Region that is currently doing it tough.LEARN MORE
BlazeAid is a volunteer-based organisation that works with families and individuals in rural Australia after natural disasters such as fires and floods.
One of Bicycle Network's fabulous volunteers, Rob, also donates his time to helping out with BlazeAid, and we recently caught up with Rob for a chat about the work he's been doing.
Many people who have been on the Great Vic would recognise you from the campsites, but might not know that you also help out at BlazeAid. What does BlazeAid do and just how much of your time do you donate to community groups?
BlazeAid helps communities with the recovery processes after natural disasters. These are typically fires, floods, cyclones and the like. The majority of the work is fences on farms, with the priority being towards boundary fences so that stock can be returned from assignment or to protect assets from theft.
BlazeAid is completely run by volunteers and does not seek or accept any government money. We rely strongly on donations especially from business, but also from individuals to assist with supply/purchase of tools and the like and also to help with the daily running costs for the camps, as they provide three meals a day for their volunteers (so there are always campsite jobs for those skilled in the culinary arts).
Which communities have you been helping out recently?
Right now I am at the Bruthen campsite, staying at the same spot that the Great Vic stayed several years ago. Based here, we are currently working in the Sarsfield, Clifton Creek and Wairewa areas. All of my work so far has been in Sarsfield (5 properties so far), but we have 3-4 small teams working on different properties around the area.
Are there any special stories that you’ve come across while helping BlazeAid?
There are lots. One from two days ago highlights the reluctance of some farmers to ask for help. As we were putting in the finishing touches of a new fence, the next door owner was struggling to do a bit on his fence and our owner said to him, “Hey Jim, now what have you got to say about the work that BlazeAid do, not just a lot of do-gooders are they.”
That afternoon the neighbour came into BlazeAid asking for help and we were out there the next day with two teams, one helping the farmer to put in a new fence and the other team (with me) clearing another fence line to allow a new fence to be installed.
If people want to help BlazeAid but are unable to make a trip to rebuild fences, is there anything they can do?
They can always donate, but as said above there is always things to be done at the campsite such as cooking, tool maintenance, purchasing supplies, some office coordination. An extra pair of hands never goes to waste.
What’s harder – fencing in the baking sun in summer or making sure people have hot water for their showers at the Great Vic?
Both jobs have their own unique challenges. I enjoy doing both, but it's hard to beat the satisfaction you get from helping out a fellow Australian during times of need.
Thank you for the chat Rob!
You can learn more about BlazeAid and get involved via their website link below.VISIT BLAZE AID