Condingup kids write heartfelt letters to hay run pastoralists

Headshot of Shannon Verhagen

With every load of hay dropped during this year’s “Love Run” came another special delivery for pastoralists, straight from the hearts of the Condingup and Esperance communities.

Care packages containing locally donated produce and homemade goods such as jams, preserves, biscuits and gloves were taken to each station along with the fodder.

They might be small, but they pack a lot of heart, with the tradition starting five years ago on the first Farmers Across Borders run.

“We normally do the care packages, which are things like toiletries and jams, stuff that when you’re doing it tough you go without,” chair Ross Stone said.

Get in front of tomorrow's news for FREE

Journalism for the curious Australian across politics, business, culture and opinion.


“On the first hay run we did over east, my daughter said, ‘I want to do something for the kids’, so she did up bags for the kids with all sorts of games and toys and we took all of them over as well.”

This year, each one was personalised with a letter of hope and support from students at Condingup Primary School.

“I’m sorry your farm does not have water,” one read.

“I want it to rain for you so all of the animals have lots of water to drink and you can grow crops to feed the animals. Don’t give up.”

The packages also contained sock guards sewn by local CWA members and fruit cakes courtesy of the Esperance Lions Club’s “buy a fruit cake for a farmer” initiative.

Condingup grain farmer and mother-of-three Gillian Inkster, right, helped put them together and had the joy of handing them over to some of the pastoralists this year.

She and husband Craig have been part of the run for several years after a decision to donate after a good season led to a cross-country trip in the truck for them and their three daughters, with less than 24 hours notice.

“We had quite a few dry years and then had a really good year, so we decided to donate a trailer-load of hay because we’d done it really tough and we knew how hard it is to feed livestock,” Mrs Inkster said.

“So we contacted Ross Stone to say ‘Would you like to come and collect a road train of hay?’ and he turned up and he said, ‘Oh, we’re leaving tomorrow, would you like to come and deliver your hay to Cobar?’ So we put the whole family in the car and went on the hay run — it was fabulous.”

The duo are now regulars on the run, travelling to the northern Goldfields several times.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails