Soldiers plough through farm clean-up

More than 75 years of the Drage family’s hard work was blown away in minutes when Tropical Cyclone Seroja hit Western Australia’s mid-west in early April.

CAPTION: Soldiers clear debris from a Northampton farm following Tropical Cyclone Seroja. Story by Captain Leigh Smith.

With the pieces of a shearing shed, machinery shed and outhouse strewn throughout the farm, Imelda Drage, the owner of the Yambuna Farming Co, didn’t know where to start to clean up.

“I saw the Army vehicles and trucks coming down my driveway and I just couldn’t believe my eyes – help is coming,” Ms Drage said.

Using 40M trucks and forklifts from the 13th Combat Service Support Battalion, soldiers from the 13th Brigade and the Pilbara Regiment cleaned up the property.

What would have taken the Drage family months to do was finished in a matter of hours.

Sergeant David McCabe was one of the soldiers who helped. He said the destruction to the farm was terrible.

“It was a bittersweet moment knowing we were helping them by pulling the shearing shed apart,” Sergeant McCabe said.

It was a very emotional day for Ms Drage, who held back tears while watching the soldiers get to work.

“I couldn’t be more grateful for the help and I never expected it. It really is amazing the Defence Force is here helping our community,” she said.

Defence worked closely with the Western Australia Department of Fire and Emergency Services and the SES, and was proud to support communities during times of need.

CAPTION: Sergeant David McCabe from the 13th Combat Service Support Battalion supervises during the clean-up of a Northampton farm following Tropical Cyclone Seroja.

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