THREE young families from drought-stricken northern cattle stations will have a break from the stress and worry with a visit to Ravenshoe’s Torimba Festival which starts this weekend.
Ravenshoe parish is hosting the families to an all-expenses-paid weekend in the town.
Parish pastoral leader for the Ravenshoe and Gulf Savannah parishes Deacon Peter de Haas said the aim was “to give them a much needed break from the pressures of keeping their stations going through this long-running drought”.
Torimba Festival – Festival of the Forest, which is on from October 1-15, promotes Ravenshoe’s heritage as a former timber town.
Deacon de Haas said hosting the three farming families during the festival was being paid for from funds raised through an ongoing drought appeal.
“Since 2013, Ravenshoe parish with the wonderful support of some schools and parishes in our diocese, as well as strong support from the broader Ravenshoe and surrounding communities, has anchored a drought appeal for families and communities in the neighbouring Gulf Savannah Parish which embraces Etheridge, Croydon, Carpentaria and Burke Shires,” he said.
The appeal has raised funds for hampers distributed into the drought-stricken areas of the north, “and lots of cakes and other goodies have been lovingly prepared and sent”.
Essential supplies such as dog food and lick for the cattle also have been bought for station owners battling the drought.
“Most importantly, however, the fact that so many people, nearly always complete strangers, have shown how much they care by supporting the appeal, has brought smiles and a noticeable lift in spirits, knowing that others are thinking of them,” Deacon de Haas said.
“During our visits to the stations, my family and I have seen this first hand and we always feel very blessed to be able to assist in distributing what has been so generously donated.
“It is often the heartfelt notes from our donors which are attached to the hampers (or other items) that seem to be most cherished and remembered.”
Deacon de Haas said Mary Dixon, of Bagstowe Station, in Etheridge Shire, was one of the many giving thanks.
“Thank you for all your support and goodies that flowed all over the Etheridge and neighbouring shires during some of our darkest days …,” Ms Dixon wrote in a letter earlier this year.
Deacon de Haas said the parish hoped to distribute hampers before Christmas.
“Please remember in your prayers everyone on the land, asking God to send His merciful rain,” he said. “May God also help everyone affected by this long-lasting drought to keep hope alive and thus carry individuals and families through this trial.
“Please also consider your ability to support this drought appeal, either individually or through your parish or school.
“All funds and other items raised will continue to be distributed directly to drought-affected individuals, families or communities.”