Rural Aid crams five years of bushfire recovery into one week on Granite Belt

Volunteers from Australia’s most trusted rural charity have spent a week on Queensland’s Granite Belt, helping farmers recover from devastating bushfires that swept the region in late 2023. 

Thirty-two Rural Aid volunteers have given their time to seven farmers as part of the Dalveen Farm Recovery Event. 

Farmer Brian Wilson said it had been an amazing week. 

“I am so grateful to Rural Aid for the help because I couldn’t have done it [the work], there’s no way. It would take me at least five years to do what we’ve done here,” Mr Wilson said. 

The October 2023 bushfire destroyed 95 per cent of Brian’s fruit tree nursery. 

He described the aftermath of the natural disaster as a “war zone”. 

The grower said the fire forced him to think about pulling the pin on his farm business.

He said the financial, physical and mental toll of the fires meant that recovery was an overwhelming thought.  

“I knew I couldn’t do it on my own,” he said. 

A team of Rural Aid volunteers worked on Brian’s farm last week; putting in enough hard yakka that Brian estimates it will save him five years of work. 

“Rural Aid turned up and have bought a team, an army of people and hundreds of hours of work have been done; fixing irrigation, burying pipes,” Mr Wilson said.

Rural Aid CEO John Warlters said it was an honour to help our mates in the bush get back on track.

“There’s this enormous uplift emotionally that comes with people providing help and support,” Mr Warlters said. 

“It’s a hand-up, not a hand-out. But we know it means so much,” Mr Warlters said. 

Southern Downs Mayor, Cr Melissa Hamilton, said the long-road to recovery has only just begun, six months on from the fires. 

“It’s vital for disaster-affected communities to know they haven’t been forgotten especially when the next event happens soon after and the media turns their attention elsewhere,” Cr Hamilton said.

“Knowing that an organisation such as Rural Aid has come out in full force to help the Dalveen community rebuild, is invaluable.”

Rural Aid’s volunteers stayed at the Stanthorpe Showgrounds.

About Rural Aid 
Rural Aid is Australia’s most trusted rural charity. We stand with our farmers when they need us most. Rural Aid provides critical support to farmers affected by natural disaster through financial, wellbeing and fodder assistance. Rural Aid’s community programs help create more sustainable communities by building stronger futures for all Australian farmers. Find out more at 

For more information or interviews, contact Rural Aid media on or 0447 116 757.

Source: Courier Mail