More helping hands are needed in Eurobodalla to assist volunteer organisation BlazeAid rebuild fences that were damaged or destroyed in the fires.
Last year BlazeAid spent 10 months in the shire rebuilding 151km of fencing, over 263 properties – a value to the community of more than $1 million.
The BlazeAid camp was re-established at the Moruya Showground in March following further requests from rural residents needing help.
Victorians John and Jacqui Sterling are based at the showground donating a month of their time to the cause.
Even now, 15 months on from the fires, Mr Sterling said many property owners were faced with a mammoth task.
“It’s such a big job that it’s so daunting, many just don’t know where to start,” he said, adding that listening to people’s stories was often just as important as the physical work.
“It’s amazing that by giving just a few hours, or a day, or a couple of days, we’re able to give people the impetus to keep going.”
BlazeAid volunteers can be local or visitors just passing through. They can be involved for one day – from Monday to Sunday – or for as long as they like. Fencing experience is ideal, but there is on-the-job training for those who want to learn.
The Sterlings are full-time travellers and the Moruya camp is the third time they’ve volunteered with BlazeAid. They prefer to spend time giving back to the community in their retirement – and BlazeAid is “as good an organisation as any”.
“I love the work, it can be physical at times, but you’re generally working in a team of two, sometimes five or six – so there’s a camaraderie,” Mr Sterling said.
“We chat about life experiences and it’s a great team environment.”