Livestock at Mogo and Cobargo on the NSW south coast went to sleep with full stomachs for the first time in days after elements of the 5th, 7th and 8th Combat Services Support Battalions delivered almost 100 large bales of hay on 18 January.
CAPTION: Australian Army Reserve soldier Private Jonathan Catt, a Unimog truck driver with 16 Transport Squadron, 8th Combat Services Support Battalion, from Newcastle, delivering fodder to farmers during Operation Bushfire Assist 19-20. Photo and story by Sergeant Dave Morley.
RELATED STORIES: Operation Bushfire Assist 19-20
Regular Army soldiers driving the latest eight-wheeled HX77 trucks and Army Reserve soldiers in their faithful 35-year-old Unimogs, left their Cooma base in a convoy loaded with donated hay.
Newcastle Army Reserve soldier Private Jonathan Catt, a Unimog driver from 8CSSB’s 16 Transport Squadron, is a surveyor with Parker Scanlon Surveyors of Hamilton in Newcastle.
He said his employers were very supportive of his short-notice call-out
“They even said they would be happy to give me make-up pay while I’m away in the Army,” he said.
Private Catt said it is extremely worthwhile helping people in their time of need.
“I’m missing my partner and baby daughter but there are people here who have lost everything,” he said.
Cobargo farmer Tamara Corby said they had been totally wiped out and had no grass for their 80 cows and calves.
“It was pretty overwhelming to see the Army coming through our front gate – you don’t get the ADF rolling in every day,” she said.
“Now that we’ve got some feed for our cattle we can start focusing our efforts on other things, like repairing the fences.”
Mrs Corby and her husband, Gray, received 15 bales of hay from a 7CSSB HX77 truck and six bales from an 8CSSB Unimog.
As the hay was being unloaded, their cattle, and two stray sheep, came running from a nearby paddock, having got a whiff of the feed.