Leaving only a cloud of dust behind them, hay runners from across Australia converged on Darlington Point this morning to take bales from NSW to Queensland.
For two Coleambally residents, the decision to join the convoy was a last-minute one made possible by the generosity of their community.
Mark Doughty and Sue Pallett decided two weeks ago that they wanted to pitch in and help drive the effort to Queensland.
After relaying this to friends, they were soon overwhelmed with support and donations.
The Burrumbuttock Hay Runners was founded in 2014 by Brendan Farrell, who wanted to help out another drought-impacted farmer. Since then, Mr Farrell and his team have completed more than 11 successful hay runs across NSW and Queensland.
In the same spirit of helping out a mate, the Ms Pallett and Mr Doughty were loaned a truck and two trailers.
One farmer supplied hay, another loaned his fuel card, and several local businesses put together gift packs for farmers.
Ms Pallett said they owed everything to the friends and community members who had supported them.
“Our preparation was easy, especially with the support of Coleambally. You wouldn’t find that level of generosity in many places. It’s an amazing town,” she said.
The Australia Day hay run saw engines roar to life in Darlington Point this morning. On the road by 7am, the hay will be transported to Cunnamulla in Queensland’s south-west. The crew passed through Hillston at around 9:30am on Friday morning.
For Ms Pallett, the run was about wanting to give back.
“We’ve had friends do it before and we’ve always said we wanted to do something to help people who might be doing it a bit hard. This hay run came up and it was just the right time ... It all worked out perfectly.”
This particular hay run falling on Australia Day just reaffirmed her love for her country.
“We both love Australia. We see a lot of outback travelling ourselves. This is a great way to do that and to give back.”