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Riddells Creek BlazeAid camp assists in flood recovery

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Max Davies
Max Davies
Max is a journalist for the North Central Review. He joined the paper as a cadet journalist in 2021 and graduated from La Trobe University in 2023. He takes a keen interest in motorsport and the automotive industry.

By Max Davies

BlazeAid has set up camp in Riddells Creek, with volunteers working to help clear debris and rebuild fences in surrounding areas following October’s floods.

Since setting up at Rowallan Scout Camp on January 6, BlazeAid has worked with community members and volunteers to assist farmers along Deep Creek in rebuilding and recovering from the floods.

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Volunteers from the camp have so far travelled to areas such as Darraweit Guim last week, as well as Mickleham, Lancefield, Monegeetta and Romsey.

BlazeAid camp coordinator Graeme Allen said a priority of the camp was to rebuild fences on farming properties, as well as clean up any remaining debris.

“It’s basically [repairing] damage along Deep Creek. If it’s fencing that has been totally destroyed, we will rebuild it, or if it’s been knocked over we’ll pull it back and stand it up again,” he said.

“We’ll probably run the camp for five or six weeks, but it depends on the volunteer numbers and also the number of properties that need help. So far we’ve had 15 properties that have sought assistance.”

Last week’s work in Darraweit Guim was supported by volunteers from the Idlers 4WD Club, who often organise road trips to undertake recovery work in flood or fire affected areas across Victoria.

Multiple people work simultaneously in groups of four at various properties in the camp’s surrounding area, with some nearby residents also donating their time to assist.

Darraweit Guim property owner Martin Breen, who lost 1.6 kilometres of fencing during the floods, said he was grateful to receive help from BlazeAid and the camp volunteers.

“We’ve been connected with BlazeAid through some of the fires that were here in 2014 and way back in 2009, so we’ve got a link with them via emails and they notified us that they were in the area,” he said.

“We’re so grateful – we’d really be stuck without them. With the fires and now the floods it’s the same thing, you just can’t do it on your own.

“It’s not just me, it’s the whole family farm that’s been here for four generations, so we really appreciate these guys coming out to help.”

Mr Allen said the Riddells Creek camp was in need of volunteers and encouraged people from the nearby area to lend a hand where possible.

“At the moment we’ve got 12 volunteers in camp and we need some volunteers for next week because a lot of [the current volunteers] are leaving soon,” he said.

“I’m happy to have people for a day, a few days, a week or even longer.

“We provide all meals, all the safety equipment, all the tools, and insurance – they just need to let me know they’re coming to the camp and basically just turn up.”

For more information on the camp and to register as a volunteer, people can visit www.blazeaid.com.au/darraweit-guim-2023 or call Mr Allen on 0477 488 434.

Property owners are also encouraged to reach out by calling Mr Allen if they need assistance.

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