For those of you following our Craft to the Outback adventures, in March we set out again with great plans to head to the back of Bourke and beyond.
Although we distributed a trailer load of arts and craft supplies, not to mention sewing machines, etc., on our first drive out west in October 2018, that trip was cut short due to unforeseen circumstances. This time Regina and Peter were determined to get all the way to Broken Hill… and they did!
When we started planning our first Craft to the Outback run, we could not have imagined how well it would be received. We knew the drought was having a huge impact on families and wanted to contribute in our own way. The women we met on that first run were amazing. They shared their stories and were incredibly grateful for the special deliveries we gave them. It was a pleasure to be part of their story and hear how craft was helping them come together as a community in these tough times.
As we headed out of Kanwal, the ute was loaded to near overload. This included fabric, sewing machines, quilting kits and paper crafting supplies, a combination of new donations and those we couldn’t fit on the trailer on our last trip. Her Cave would like to extend a sincere thank you to every one of our members and supporters who made this possible, including the Toukley Lions and Toukley Lioness groups who contributed $1,000 towards the trip.
The trip started on March 21, with our first donation stop at Dunedoo. We then proceeded to Dubbo where we stayed for a few nights. We found some local groups that could distribute the items to the right people. While at Dubbo we went to Wellington and gave another donation of goods including a couple of sewing machines.
Cobar, our next stop, was fantastic. We were invited to a local meeting of people who were organising a show for the local “land holders” in July 2019. After we explained the purpose of the trip, a lady told us of a group in their area outside of Cobar that was started by a woman who had died. She asked if we would consider donating to the group as they were working to keep her spirit alive. Of course, we were happy to do so. Another lady gave me her contact number in Bourke so we could meet when we got there. She lives there and would be able to help give out materials to people who would greatly appreciate them.
We also found out that the local library did paper crafts so we donated there as well.
We then made our way to Broken Hill. The further west we went, the worse the drought. More desert than farming fields, death of animals, trees and a lack of grass everywhere we looked brought tears to our eyes. We gave a large donation to the gentleman who runs a souvenir shop in Broken Hill. He runs a program where he buys bread and milk with profits he makes and takes it out to farms in need in the local area. He also contacted the School of the Air to let people know about Her Cave and what we had donated.
After a few days in Broken Hill we headed back to Cobar where we stayed overnight. Next stop was Bourke where we met up with the lady we met at Cobar, giving her supplies to share out, as promised. The Darling River at Bourke was a shock to see with so little water and what they did have was blue green algae that couldn’t be used.
We then headed back to Dubbo where we stayed for a few days. We had found a Women’s Shed at a little place south of Dubbo called Yeoval. Having already chatted with them online and on the phone, Regina and Peter were greeted with a rousing “Welcome to Yeoval” when they walked in. We all had a lovely chat over a cuppa after giving them the last of our load of donated goods. They asked if we had any wool onboard as they did a lot of knitting and crocheting at their group. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any but there is plenty back at Kanwal, if anyone comes come to the coast at any time. One lady’s husband comes to the coast on a regular basis so he was able to pick up the two large bags we put together for them.
After all that we made our way back to the coast with many memories and stories to tell those here and those who donated. We were also able to share information on our trip in the Wyong Chronicle in an article on the 22nd of May, 2019.