Nothing could prepare the drought angels for what they’d see

NOTHING could prepare Toni Cowan for what she would witness driving through the entrance of a drought-stricken Central Queensland property.

Toni was part of a team of 16 volunteers who visited Jane ­Saunders' property, ­Charlevue, on Sunday (where she runs 300 head of poddy calves and 1000 cattle) to help her out as she battles through one of the most difficult times imaginable.

The volunteers were made up from staff members at Ramsay Pharmacy in North Rockhampton, and their families, who gave up their time to assist the business's lifelong customer (Ms Saunders) as the ongoing dry conditions take a heavy toll on the Dingo grazier's livelihood.

The team came face-to-face with the harsh reality of the 'crippling drought' affecting so many of the region's land ­owners.

On arrival at the property 160km west of Rockhampton, the team formed a working bee where they completed farm and domestic duties.

Toni Cowan, Ramsay Pharmacy's retail manager, described her observations of the barren landscape.

"The current situation out there is extremely heartbreaking with no end in sight for this crippling drought," she said.

"It was quite devastating."

And if the drought wasn't bad enough, Toni said the hardworking land owner had no workers to help tackle the huge amount of work which was piling up every week.

"Jane is by herself out there," Toni said.

To make matters worse, her property had received no rain through recent storms which had provided much needed relief to parts of the region.

So the Ramsay team knew there was plenty to be done feeding stock. Together the volunteers ­unloaded 700 bales of lucerne from a semi-trailer so they could use it to carry more hay back to the property.

They also helped feed livestock.

Children as young as four found themselves in a buggy feeding chickens and giving water to calves who were too weak to drink on their own.

They couldn't have chosen a better time to venture out to Jane's property.

It surely was her time of need and what they achieved made it made a rewarding experience for everyone involved.

"It's very humbling to give one's self to help someone in need," Toni said.

Working together eased the burden for that day, and in the process they took away joy and laughter.

"I know all of our children got the same fulfilment," Toni said.

"If you can help (someone) in some way, even for just a day or a couple of hours, you have no idea just how much it lifts the spirits of those you help.

"That in itself is what truly makes this world brighter and makes us proud Aussies."

After their long day of hard yakka, Jane announced she could not pay the team for their efforts, but instead gave them a much more sentimental reward.

She presented the children with ribbons she had won for her prized livestock so they didn't go home empty-handed. Well done Ramsay Pharmacy.

Two youngsters help feed Jane's livestock.
Two youngsters help feed Jane's livestock.

ALL THE ACTION: State T20 battles thrill

Premium Content ALL THE ACTION: State T20 battles thrill

See the photos from Twenty20 as under 16s hit the pitch for day two.

53 Queensland bank branches close in a year

Premium Content 53 Queensland bank branches close in a year

Queensland banking customers have been hit in a huge wave of bank branch closures...

Man allegedly threatens police with knives in Nanango siege

Premium Content Man allegedly threatens police with knives in Nanango siege

A Nanango man was charged after allegedly barricading himself in a property and...