District 9790 Bushfire Recovery Newsletter No 5, December 2020

Hello Rotarians and friends

The lifting of COVID restrictions in Victoria, combined with warm spring weather, has seen the communities in the Upper Murray implementing some of the plans made to rebuild and upgrade facilities to bring their communities together. Rotarians from clubs in D9790 are assisting communities with these projects. The Rotary Club of Tallangatta provided a generator for the Towong Hall, ensuring power will always be available and another for a farmer to power his caravan. The Rotary Clubs of Rosanna and Mooroopna have been working on the Cudgewa Fire Project and a diesel generator has been installed at the School Park Cudgewa. A 130,000 litre water tank will be installed when the weather permits.
However, many individuals are still struggling, as they deal with the complexities of property and income loss, ill-health, isolation and the difficulties caused by living in temporary accommodation. Deteriorating mental health and vulnerability have resulted for some. The District Bushfire Recovery Committee has been able to provide compassionate grants of $2,500 from the Rotary Australia Benevolent Society fund (RABS) to assist those in need. Applications have been made by health service providers, community leaders and Rotary clubs on behalf of those experiencing disadvantage, sickness or financial loss. Twenty two grants have been made and applications continue to be received for evaluation by the committee. It has taken time for many experiencing hardship to ask for or accept help.


The Rotary Club of Belvoir Wodonga has been working with the Corryong Health Services to develop and fund a Men’s Health Project - with mental health being the focus. The club has also installed a large screen with the latest technology, at the new recreation building in Corryong and will provide their movie trailer for use by the Rotary Club of Corryong in the various communities.
The Rotary Club of Albury has provided $3,000 to Corryong FoodShare, to help fund Christmas hampers for the 113 families and individuals they have been supporting this year. Albury also provided the Corryong Scouting group with $3,000 to purchase dome tents and uniforms. Forty four boys and girls from five to fourteen years of age are now attending meetings and are looking forward to a proposed scout camp.
The Rotary Club of Albury North have been supporting the Jingellic, Walwa and Tooma communities.
Recently they provided weekend catering for a BlazeAid team at Walwa, when a large number of volunteer fencing registrations were received, giving the camp coordinators a much needed break. Catering support was also provided for a High Tea at Jingellic and planning is underway for the Jingellic Christmas party and a community concert.
The Rotary Club of Tallangatta donated $3,000 to the Corryong Uniting Church for $100 gift cards to be included in Christmas hampers for needy families.
The Rotary Club of Holbrook supported a social community event in Jingellic in October and catered for the Firefox - fire preparedness - event at Walwa last weekend. At a Holbrook Rotary club meeting Mary Hoodless and Kerry Morton (a Holbrook Rotarian), were recognised for their tireless work with NSW Premier’s Awards for Community Service.
Members of the Albury West and Corryong Rotary Clubs at the Cudgewa Recreation Reserve
The Rotary Club of Albury West provided a fabulous meal for members of the Rotary Club of Corryong at Cudgewa Recreation Reserve on Saturday November 28th. PDG’s Brian Peters and District Bushfire Recovery Chair Bernie Bott spoke of the issues faced by Corryong Rotarians during and since the fires and the commitment of the district to continue to support them and the affected region of the Upper Murray in their recovery. Hampers were presented to the Corryong Rotarians in recognition of their commitment to their community in difficult times.


With the mental health of the communities of the Upper Murray in mind, the One Foot Forward Walk, the idea of Paramedic and first responder Meaghan Daly, was held on Saturday October 30th. Over one hundred people came together and walked from Cudgewa to Towong, raising awareness and support for all those in the Upper Murray devastated over the past twelve months by drought, bushfires, COVID-19, the loss of three young lives to suicide and cancer and the challenges faced by the communities each day. The District Bushfire Recovery Committee and the Rotary Club of Yarrawonga Mulwala have supported this important event, covering the cost of the printing on 600 caps to be worn on the day. The caps have been an important conversation tool, encouraging people to talk to family, friends and neighbours, reminding all that the community cares and you’ll never walk alone.
Marita Harrison and Meaghan Daly
Socially distanced One Foot Forward walkers


Volunteers with BlazeAid and the Uniting Church Fencing team have continued working in the Upper Murray, clearing property boundaries and erecting new fences. The Uniting Church Team reports they have assisted more than thirty three land holders with over six thousand volunteer hours provided. Members from the Rotary Club of Benalla have worked with the Uniting Church team since January and the club recently donated $5,000 for fencing work around Cudgewa. Both teams will soon cease work for the year, before returning in March.
There is more work to be done.
A steep fencing section for the Uniting Church team at Colac Colac
Ian Gibb’s fencing team from the Rotary Club of Alexandra has been working at Dandongadale, a remote area in North East Victoria’s high country at Sugarloaf Station, helping the property owners’ clear boundaries and rebuild fences in very difficult, steep and rocky terrain.
Sugarloaf Station, Dandongadale
The improvement in weather conditions has seen four more shipping containers delivered to needy property owners bringing the total to sixteen. At a cost of $500 per container to our District, the remaining cost is generously being covered by district 9800. The Rotary Club of Albury has provided $10,000 to D9800 towards the cost of containers.
A Christmas market event in Corryong, Bringing Back the Magic is being organised for the communities and will provide a little cheer for all who have experienced loss this year. More about that in the next newsletter.
For further information:
PDG Bernie Bott, Chairman
District 9790 Bushfire Recovery Committee