Rotarians working together for the benefit of drought affected people.
Read about the Hawker Drought Relief Project and the Drought Muster held at Hawker on Saturday 31 October 2020.
The Rotary Club of Campbelltown Hawker Drought Relief effort and Drought Muster.
As a consequence largely of the hard work of Rotarian Mal Hansen and his wife Val, the Rotary Club of Campbelltown has been responsible for the delivery of 7 loads of hay to farmers in the Hawker area, commencing with the first load in July 2020.
Two loads totalling 88 bales were donated - 34 bales from Yorke Peninsula where we paid for fuel costs and 54 bales from Bill Catford of Yapilla who delivered the hay freight free.
In total, 516 bales were distributed which weighed a total of 345 tonnes.  Apart from the 88 bales of donated hay, the balance was purchased with intially funding from various Rotary clubs including Campbelltown.
Ultimately Clubs have been reimbursed in excess of $75,000 for the cost of the hay and freight from the Rotary Australia World Community Service (RAWCS) SA Districts Drought relief project.  Apart from the Rotary Club of Campbelltown, the other clubs involved were Peterborough, Magill Sunrise (twice), Mount Barker, Goolwa, Roxby District, Port Augusta, Morialta, Onkaparinga and Burnside.
The hay was distributed in an orderly and fair manner with Val Hansen emailing 47 Pastoralists and requested they fill out a registration form with details of stock numbers and whether they were purchasing water.  As a result, a fair distribution of hay was made to 36 Pastoralists who still had stock on their properties.  Thankyou to the Flinders Ranges Council and employees for the use of their Hawker premises and equipment.
In addition to the hay, Mal and Val transported 11 tonnes of potatoes over a number of trip using their Mazda BT50 and trailer and the spuds were used as cattle feed.  We were told that the cattle were lining up and waiting for them!  This was funded in part with generous donations from a few Rotarians, a Shed volunteer, 2 CROE participants from Victoria and friends and family members. The donations also went toward covering the cost of the breakfasts that were given to the Pastoralists as they came into Hawker to collect their allocated Hay. Thanks to Rotary Clubs of Campbelltown, Magill Sunrise, Mt Barker and Port Augusta for taking a turn at cooking.  
Drought Muster
While visiting Hawker, Mal Hansen was approached by two local Hawker residents requesting assistance with organising a Mental Health day, such was their concern for the Mental Health of their fellow Pastoralists.  It could not be called a Mental Health event, and hence the name of Drought Muster was decided on.
A small committee of 5 Hawker residents, Campbelltown Rotarians Mal (and Val) and Amanda Thomas,  was formed and soon got to work to make the day a fantastic success.
Past District Governor Bob Cooper attended the inaugural meeting and pledged $5,000 from RAWCS to start the process.  This then became the Original budget but, with persistence, of Kaye & Don Fells and Jan & John Teague from Hawker they managed to get significant grants to further make the day the success it was, enabling the hire of equipment and marquees.
The Drought Muster was held on Saturday 31 October 2020 following the distribution of the last load of hay on the Friday.
As the original plan was to have everything FREE for the local folk, a raffle was soon suggested.
Many items were donated, including $1,500 of items from the Home of 12 Volt shop Mount Barker We were even able to purchase an Engel Fridge from significant donations.  The raffle was a huge success and looking at the excitement on many faces, especially the kids when they came up to grab a prize, the effort was worthwhile and it will no doubt be talked about for a long time to come.
When the people walked in the gate they (registered in accordance with COVID rules) and were given a wrist band with a number on it and this entitled them to get everything free (except for alcohol) and be entered into the free raffle.  A mobile coffee van provided free tea and coffee and home made cakes.  500 sausages were donated by Master Butchers and 800 by Thomas Foods for the free sausage sizzle enjoyed by many throughout the day.  The donut van was really popular as were the drinks marque and the ice cream van.  On top of this, children loved the bouncing castle and slide along with their free lucky dips.  Special thanks to t3he Rotary Club of Mount Barker for their donation and cooking of the donuts.
Seven sheep were donated by Pastoralists, Brian Rowe at Wolhalla and Leonard Nutt at Edeowie and 40 Kg of beef was donated by Elders for the evening meal.
3.5 tonnes of potatoes were donated by Mitolo Family Farms, 2.5 tonne being for cattle feed transported by Mal, and one tonne to be used for the evening meal and to give away to local families.  Thanks to Rotarian Margaret and Jim Beare for arranging these potatoes and then transporting the 1 tonne for the Muster. 
Margaret also had 42kg of pumpkins donated.   40 kg of frozen vegetables were purchased for the dinner at the Muster which was very successful.  Special thanks to Rotarians Manfred and  Netty Hienrich and Mick Mitolo and many others (totalling about 60 people) from the Rotary Clubs of Campbelltown, Magill Sunrise, Mount Barker and Goolwa and friends of Rotarians, who prepared a full roast meal for the 430 attendees, followed by strawberries and icecream.  Thanks also to the band of ladies who prepared 15 trays of strawberries for dessert.  Five of the trays were donated by Green Valley Strawberries.
We also had 2 Barbers from Mt Barker, who not only donated their time, but took their Barber chairs with them and cut hair from 1.30 to 6 non stop - a marathon effort!
Two Mental Health Practitioners, mingled with the crowd, plus Health nurses and the local Doctor did blood pressure and diabetes checks.
The entertainment throughout the day was fantastic with Graeme Hugo, Bev Branson and Local singers, Arthur and Warren, and the evening concluded with Peter Coad and the Coad Sisters putting on an excellent show.
As Rotarians moved around talking to people, is was very apparent that the local Community members were so appreciative for the muster and they couldn’t believe that we were giving it to them free - they were overwhelmed by the generosity.
Click to view a few photos photoalbums/drought-relief-and-muster
Some letters were sent to the Hawker committee of the Drought Muster.
I am a family of 5. I am a mother of 3 children 10, 6 and 3.
In 2016, we had a dream to own our own cattle business. Something for our children as well as a place my nieces and nephews could come to and learn and work alongside us.....A place I could get my people back on the land and young people going into the workforce.
It was the start of the drought!
2020 is a year THE WORLD will remember... people lost their jobs, businesses closed down, families couldn’t see each other, kids had no sport, social activities.... little did a lot of people know that people on the land were struggling already with laying station hands off, people pulling their kids out of school to help at home, feeding stock, sacrificing family time for the sake of our animals, no family holidays, and not seeing family and friends.... the list goes on.....
Sacrificing and Isolation is our life!!!
But us bush people love it.
This year we decided to de-stock, I felt like our kids were missing out on some things, my depression was bad.
Walking the cattle to the yards the very last time was a sad day, my dreams were just “dreams”.
That night I had a good sleep. Deep down I knew it was for the best, foe my children.
Like a lot of other families, we have never been on a big holiday, our holidays are gymkhanas, and 2020 stopped that. The kid’s horses make up for them not doing sports like basketball and football etc... Having horses teaches them team work and perseverance. They’re handling an animal much stronger them.
Getting the hay donated has helped us in a lot of ways, our animals had a belly full and knowing people out there care for us in the Flinders Ranges, we haven’t had a lot of media coverage like other places. They say money doesn’t grow on trees, but for people on the land money does grow from Grass. I have seen people struggle, people down, close to tears.
The last month we have had rain, I am very happy to see the land green again, I hope Mother Nature is much kinder to us for the rest of the year and into 2021.
The Hawker Drought Muster was a hit to our town. Monday morning at school that was all the kids talked about. My daughter asked if we could have one every year, I explained that even though everything was free at the drought muster, someone paid for it.
Thank you to everyone who donated their time and money. God Bless you all.
Pastoralist near Hawker.
Thank you for your email and many congratulations on your hardworking committee's planning, actions and successes regarding the Event.
Success on the day is one thing of course and from the feedback that I've heard since surely means that the reverberating effect of your event lives on. The ripple in the pond comes to mind.
Those who were there, remember it. Those who weren't, hear of it. All are inspired by it and enthused by it. 
Observing human nature at work on the day was confirmation that folk attending were eagerly seeking out information from stall holders plus greeting other visitors in what can only be described as friendly and supportive.
We only have to watch people from a distance and smiling, welcoming expressions, behaviour and general sincere goodwill are a sure indication of high spirits and gratitude for your event.
And what wonderful tranquil weather you had as well.
The constant availability of food and drinks was truly obvious. I was next to the donut van and they were busy all day. I also noticed that the coffee van had folk lying up all the time. Others were busy.
I observed your committee members, Rotary and others being busy all day. I bet their feet needed some attention at the end of it all.
And, the entertainers on the stage were great and very pleasant to listen to whilst not being too load. There is something soothing about country music and this all added to a sense of wellbeing, support and confidence.
Various speakers on the day were well received and the raffles went well.                                                                                            
I noticed during the afternoon that our state MP Dan was eagerly mingling with the crowd.
I want to add that the evening meal, entertainment and goodwill mingling was great.
Your committee's organising of meal time in a very kind and efficient manner (together with your Covid Marshalls) was extremely streamlined and good. 
I was mindful about your event whilst on the header a day or so ago and detached from my other out and about role. 
I was actually thinking as a 'cockie'. I was in farmer mode, focussing on keeping the header at capacity and trying to get enough off before the weather came in. Willing the crop to flow in and willing the forecasted high winds to take off somewhere else and general anxiousness.
A few other farmer related things were bothering me as well. All part of the drill I know, but make that 24:7:365 days per year (like a drought and not one year but say four) and that steady build-up of pressure can get to and affect people.
Your lovely event actually defuses that. People talk to each other. They realise that hey, they have that same hassle or experience as well and this is how they go about it. 
It is about sharing thoughts and 'chewing the fat' so to speak. Confirmation that we are not alone.
Secondary industry and their people (businesses, service industries etc.) also suffer during hard times. Events like yours reassures everyone that we are all on the same page doing different roles.
I will close by again thanking you and congratulating your splendid committee and associates for such a well-planned and much needed and beneficial day.
With best wishes to you all.
A mental health practitioner.
On behalf of everyone who received donated hay, thank you so much for the hay donations you organized for the properties in the Hawker and greater Hawker district. Your efforts are very much appreciated by everyone you have helped.
You saw a need that was not being met and you quietly went about meeting that need.  No fan-fare or press coverage, but many many volunteer hours of time, energy, phone calls, organizing...
Thanks to everyone in Rotary and others who have had a part in this project.  When you began the Hay to Hawker and Beyond initiative we were in the grip of the most devastating drought in living memory.  Before the final delivery of hay on October 30th the rains had come and the countryside had changed from red dust to green feed.  The new growth has taken a lot of pressure off the  pastoralists as for the first time in four years the stock have green feed to eat.  Thanks to your initiative there's now a supply of a few bales of hay in sheds at each property ready for when the summer heat dries up the feed growth in the near future and the stock will again be looking for that handout of good quality hay.
The afternoon and evening of October 31 at the Hawker Sports Centre was a great occasion of good food, entertainment and catch up.  With over 400 people attending, this was by far the biggest gathering of people in the area this year.  It was so good to be able to mingle and chat to locals and visitors from far and wide, many of whom we have not seen for many months.  The event ran smoothly with all needs catered for because everything had been so well planned, down the last detail , credit must go to the organizing committee.
Thank you again.
Pastoralist in Blinman area.
We have just been donated 123 bales of hay  for distribution on the 11th December.
Kindly donated by Bill Catford and his neighbour.  Now to organize Pastoralists for pick up and breakfasts!  A great Christmas gift and round off of the event for all.