Volunteers appreciate Eyre Peninsula hospitality

GROUP: Members of the Western Australian volunteer group in Smoky Bay recently were Adrian Wood, Phil Logue, Erin Logue, Karen Lucas, Damien Healy, Lyn Lucas, Neil Ballard, Dennis Healy and Paul Brown. Picture: Supplied
GROUP: Members of the Western Australian volunteer group in Smoky Bay recently were Adrian Wood, Phil Logue, Erin Logue, Karen Lucas, Damien Healy, Lyn Lucas, Neil Ballard, Dennis Healy and Paul Brown. Picture: Supplied

A group of Western Australian volunteers recently called Eyre Peninsula home on their way to and from Kangaroo Island where they helped with the recovery process after the devastating bushfires.

A group of about 60 'WA Fencing Farmers' members have made their way to Kangaroo Island over the past month.

Travelling in two groups, the first stayed at Kimba on the way over and Smoky Bay upon their return, with the second group calling in at Kyancutta on their way across.

One of the organisers, Paul Brown, said the idea to take a group across came after seeing the scenes on Kangaroo Island and a desire to help fellow farmers.

"Myself and the co-creator independently of each other decided to do something and we both put something up on Twitter, before coming together after being shown that we wanted to do practically the same thing," he said.

"We thought we'd get a few people, but had about 60 coming over with us.

"We had farmers, wives, sons and a number of people with no farming experience who decided to come as well and help fix farms."

He said the group came from as far spread as Northampton to Albany and Esperance and while on Kangaroo Island worked under the guide of BlazeAid.

"We didn't think we were doing anything special, but only helping out fellow farmers - we are all cousins and when there's a disaster we all band together," Mr Brown said.

"Co-creator Sam Burgess and I coordinated volunteers from Kangaroo Island and back and raised funds to make sure volunteers were not out of pocket more than they already were by being there.

"We decided to raise funds for volunteers and were supported by so many in WA."

After getting in touch with James Boylan, the first group returning home stayed in Smoky Bay for a night.

They enjoyed a seafood dinner at the Smoky Bay Community Club, and were thankful for the support received in all the towns they stayed at.

"We were shown a remarkable level of hospitality and people from people like Lee Fitzgerald, Aaron Grocke and James Boylan, and all of the people in those communities, which was really heartening for us," Mr Brown said.

"The next morning we made our way back to WA, but were also given some oysters to take home.

"There was an incredible amount of hospitality shown by Kimba, Kyancutta and Smoky Bay."

Mr Boylan said housing the volunteers in Smoky Bay for the night was the least they could do.

"For what they did, coming all the way from Western Australia to a place in South Australia to help out, is a good sign that Australians are very compassionate about their fellow Aussies," he said.

"They came a long way and showed the Australian spirit of helping each other is alive.

"The least that we could do was to host them and give them a nice feed of seafood, and thank them for their kindness."