Gledswood Hills man donates time to help drought-stricken farmers

Farm country: Farmer Jeff Frazer with patrol volunteers Colin Stanzione and George El Amal, and fellow farmer Jason Fragar.
Farm country: Farmer Jeff Frazer with patrol volunteers Colin Stanzione and George El Amal, and fellow farmer Jason Fragar.

Colin Stanzione has a new appreciation for Australia's drought after visiting a small town in the state's central west.

The Gledswood Hills man was volunteering his time with other NRMA workers to help drought-stricken farmers in the Tottenham area.

Tottenham is about an hour and a half west of Dubbo, and the family Mr Stanzione was visiting lived another 32 kilometres outside the town centre.

He and fellow NRMA volunteer George El Amal spent about three days at the Talgong property with farmers Jeff and Kathy Frazer, helping out wherever possible.

"Talgong is about three quarters of an hour out of town down a dirt road, so the family does whatever they can on the property, like baking their own bread," Mr Stanzione said.

"Because they have to work so hard to feed their sheep and cows and keep the farm running, lots of little tasks fall by the wayside.

"So NRMA sent us there to help out with some mechanical tasks, things that needed to be done but the Frazers had to put off because other things were more important."

Mr Stanzione said he helped fix tractors and Nissan Patrols on the farm, tankers and prime movers.

He said Mr Frazer was skilled at fixing air-conditioning equipment, and would lend his skills out to nearby farmers.

One of the days the volunteers were on the farm saw a neighbouring farmer receive Mr Frazer's help.

But the neighbour's tractor broke down on the way to Talgong, so Mr Stanzione helped fix that too.

He said the farms were full of beautiful red earth, which made finding water difficult.

"The nearby towns have gotten some rain, but their property seems to be in this corridor that misses the rain," Mr Stanzione said.

"So they've tried to dig bores, but the water is too salty and can't be used.

"So they have to wait for rain.

"And this is the kind of dirt that needs soaking rain, not just a sprinkle."

Mr Stanzione said he was struck by the nature of the Frazer family (two of their children also work on the farm, keeping it afloat) and said the struggles of people out west were so different to what was experienced in the suburbs.

He said the Frazers had been forced to part with most of their cattle and were trying their best to maintain their sheep.

Mr Stanzione's NRMA volunteer visit was part of the Frontier Services Outback Links program.