CWA of NSW and Dunedoo community join forces to support Sir Ivan fire victims

Media Release – 16 February 2017

The Country Women’s Association (CWA) of New South Wales has today announced a commitment of up to $50,000 from its Disaster Relief fund, to assist the victims of the Sir Ivan fire with their immediate needs. The CWA also formed a committee with the community of Dunedoo yesterday to manage the many generous offers of assistance that are rolling in for people affected by fire.

All offers of help will be dealt with by the committee. Financial donations can be deposited into the CWA of NSW’s Disaster Relief Fund and will go directly to those in need. These donations will be tax deductible and can be made via the CWA of NSW website, or copy and paste this link:


According to CWA of NSW’s President, Annette Turner, 31 properties have been confirmed as destroyed but crop and stock loss assessment has only just begun and is escalating.

“Latest reports late yesterday from the Rural Fire Service indicated the 55,000 hectare fire was only just under control and many farmers have lost absolutely everything,” said Annette.


“Our Disaster Relief fund is for exactly these types of situations and we are very pleased to be able to assist. Food, clothing and financial donations are what is most needed at the moment and I encourage everyone who is able to to donate and support those affected,” she said.

  • Clothing and food donations are being co-ordinated by Dunedoo Central School office staff (call 02 6375 1489 for details of where and how to deliver or collect). No furniture deliveries will be accepted at this time as those affected have nowhere to store them.
  • Short term accommodation is being organised and those requiring it should contact Sharon Nott on 0428 859 509.
  • Water deliveries can be arranged by contacting Peter McClung on 0428 863 219
  • Hay and grain deliveries are being co-ordinated by Hayden Rhodes and Sandy Cox from Delta Sullivans – contact 02 6375 1209, Hayden on 0428 811 774 or Sandy on 0428 865 299.
  • Counselling for fire victims is being arranged and Dunedoo Central School have a counsellor coming in for student assistance.
  • Townspeople are on hand to do basic things like clothes washing if needed. Dunedoo Central School will be organising this service.16711966_1236282786455422_5133467928900852735_n

“If you know someone who needs assistance, they or you (on their behalf) can contact Joy Beames (0428 751 173) or Sam Barrass (0402 592 436),” said Annette.

“As the fire continues to burn to the east of Dunedoo the advice from the Rural Fire Service late yesterday was that while there is no immediate threat to homes, if you are in the area of Cassilis or Coolah and in the vicinity of Warrumbungles Way, monitor conditions and be prepared to take action if the fire threatens your property.


An information point has been established at the Coolah Sports Club. NSW RFS community liaison members are available to provide information and updates to residents. Please use caution when traveling in the area as there are reports of livestock and native animals on the road. Roads may also close at short notice for firefighting operations,” said Annette.



Annie’s Escape to the Country …

Guest Blog by Annie Kiefer, State Honorary Secretary

Day dawned; I was ready and set to go on my Adventure “out west”.  A place I had never truly and properly visited until now.  Sure, I went to Broken Hill to our CWA Conference, but all I saw was the Entertainment Centre and our accommodation. No time for tripping around.

I boarded the Dubbo train, feasted on scones, jam and cream – ladies not nearly as good as the CWA ones at the RAS – and later that night arrived in Wilcannia (this time via bus). Torrential rain followed me all the way to Cobar.  Drought, what drought I was forced to query?

My dear friend Annette, (aka beastie due to a typographical error) met me in downtown Wilcannia in the dead of night. Well, perhaps not the “dead” of night, but it was pretty dark.  We journeyed through to White Cliffs and then to Polpah Station via a couple of flooded creek beds. Again I queried, “What drought? to be told “It’s a Green Drought”! That night I fell into bed – after all, I had been so excited that morning that I was up and about at around 4.30 am.Annie 4

The next morning I awoke early and we travelled into White Cliffs.  What a wonderful town is White Cliffs.  There was to be that Friday, Saturday and Sunday, an Arts Festival. The town had been “wool bombed” and was bedecked in the most amazing knitted, crocheted and woven bits and pieces. Fences were covered in knitted flowers, crocheted rugs adorned the local hall where an old ute was parked out the front completely covered in knitting with a full sized knitted driver. The local general store had an amazing assortment of bollards out the front each topped with pom poms. I inspected the CWA Hall and marvelled at what wonderful accommodation it is. The local branch rents the Hall out for visitors to stay in (and it has air conditioning!!). I met Jim at the local coffee shop who shared all the finer details about finding opals and showed us a couple he had found.  They were enormous. I couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t give them to us.Annie 2

The next day we went out exploring on Polpah. I saw real live emus, real live kangaroos, real live rabbits, leopard trees, real live eaglets in their nest, skies full of budgerigars and real live huge numbers of sheep.  I was fortunate enough to visit neighbouring Goodwood Station, and watch the crutching of their sheep. It was so fascinating. And the shearing personnel were so patient and kind and talked me through all the procedures and answered all my naïve queries!

Let me say here and now that I am a “dyed in the wool”, pardon the pun, city slicker from waaaay back, so everything was a real first for me.

I was absolutely astounded and almost speechless by the size of the sky. Enormous Blue Huge Tremendous Magnificent Words actually fail me!! (And those of you that know me, know that’s a first!!)Annie pic

I found such a wondrous beauty in all things I saw.  From the red dirt to the beautiful skies, to the marvellous trees and the wonderful wildflowers; each was a joy to behold. (Annie picking up pressing tips from CWA member Louise Turner)

We visited Peery Lake where I was fortunate enough to see some aboriginal rock paintings. We walked out to one of the islands in the Lake (now nearly dry) and saw where the springs come from. On this trek we were accompanied by visitors to the area who were being shown around by the Park Ranger, there were a couple from Melbourne, a couple from Sydney, a couple from Yass.  We then journeyed to Goodwood Station where we were entertained by a guest who “just happened to bring his guitar” along, and where we enjoyed a lovely lunch prepared by Louise Turner, who, with her husband Zane, owns this Station.Annie 3

Next day, there was “Open Day” at the dugouts. My beastie, Annette, and I travelled once more into White Cliffs where I enjoyed visiting various underground homes.  One such home would put “Vogue Interiors” and “Belle Magazine” to shame, such was its magnificence. (In an underground motel)

On the Saturday afternoon we visited the local Hall and admired the work of many local artists. Their artwork was first class. In the evening we again travelled into White Cliffs with Annette’s grandson, Finley, to attend the Festival Concert.  And what a concert it was, “The Waking of the Indigenous Animals”, choreographed locally by White Cliffs residents was inspiring. So was the magician!

The next day we picnicked in the creek bed. I saw bird life I had long forgotten – Eagles, Zebra Finches, Willy Wagtails, Sparrows which all seem to have disappeared from my suburb in Sydney to be replaced by the Indian Myna birds.

You, in the outback, work so hard for what you get. You work unceasingly. You achieve much. Life is not easy, but your cheerfulness, your laughter and your kindness will remain with me always.

Thank you Annette and Barry, Denika, Finley and Max, Zane and Louise, Keely and Clancy for your hospitality and your warmer than warm welcome. I had the best time and not only that, each day I was fortunate enough to dine on the best freshly baked bread I have ever tasted.

I have lived and travelled all over the World, but none is more beautiful than my own country and my own (2)

(Annie with Mabel Turner who is an orphan)