In December, a swag of Australian artists banded together for a special Bush Christmas Appeal at Mornington Racecourse for HAY MATE, raising funds for Rural Aid that was shared with farmers struggling with drought. Headlined by John Farnham, with Jon Stevens, Daryl Braithwaite, Vanessa Amorosi, John Williamson, The Black Sorrows with Vika & Linda, All Our Exes Live in Texas, Tim Wheatley and Little Georgia, the HAY MATE concert was broadcast as a live telethon on Channel 9.
HAY MATE organiser Glenn Wheatley has announced this week that the Bush Christmas Appeal raised a whopping $5.8-million - $5,850,094.54 to be exact. For Glenn, who had his hopes pinned on a lofty goal of $4-million, says he is humbled by the amazing outpouring of support from Australians willing to help out their fellow 'mates'.
"The generosity of people all over Australia was extraordinary," he says. "There was real empathy from everybody over the plight of the farmers during the worst drought in decades. Their added plight from the fires has now added to the cause. Australians dug deep that night."
The fundraising event went to Rural Aid's Buy A Bale campaign. Rural Aid is one of the leading rural charities in Australia and have been championing the cause for farmers doing it tough. The Buy A Bale program supports farmers and rural communities throughout Australia, delivering hay and other essential items for those who have no feed left for their livestock.
HAY MATE, in association with Rural Aid, helped more than 3,000 farmers in a variety of ways, through financial aid, or via deliveries of 205 truckloads, 4,485 tonnes, 7,577 bales of hay drops and 487 water drops. Distribution commenced in January and although it was hampered by the bushfires, it has continued though until now. Glenn says there were some areas impacted that were inaccessible due to the bushfires for a period of time, but have now all received the assistance promised. "There were some very emotional scenes from farmers at all the hay drops," he says.
The term HAY MATE has become synonymous with helping out a mate. Glenn extends his thanks to everyone who dug deep to make the HAY MATE Bush Christmas Appeal a reality and helped raise the $5.8-million for our farmers. "We have to give thanks to all the artists who gave up their time to perform on the night," he says. "Thanks to all at the Nine Network and to Rural Aid. But, most of all thank to the people of Australia who donated to this most worthy of causes."
For more information, please visit www.haymate.org.au