Wingham Rotary raffle realises help for Lightning Ridge farmers

Ron Hindmarsh's painting, inspired by a drought-stricken sheep property in Cumnock NSW, raised funds for Rotary's drought appeal.
Ron Hindmarsh's painting, inspired by a drought-stricken sheep property in Cumnock NSW, raised funds for Rotary's drought appeal.

Drought-stricken farmers at Lightning Ridge are getting a little help thanks to the generosity of Wingham folk and the Wingham Rotary Club.

Funds raised here, totalling $3770, have been given to the Lightning Ridge Rotary Club to help pay pharmaceutical and food bills for their farmers doing it tough.

Wingham Rotary Club put their hand up to contribute to Rotary Drought Relief, and club member Ron Hindmarsh has been donating his artwork for the cause.

When we were travelling out there, the towns were just so depressing. Not having the water and the rain, the buildings, the shopfronts and windows were just covered in dust.

Ron Hindmarsh

"We spoke with our District Governor who suggested that we give the funds raised to Lightning Ridge Rotary Club, because a lot of other Rotary Clubs have been fortunate enough to have been given grants and helping their farmers, but Lightning Ridge missed out, and it's right on the top end of our district, which is 9650," Ron said.

About five months ago Ron and his wife Helen took a round trip to look at drought areas, going to Bathurst, through to Orange, up to Molong and then through to Cumnock

"When we were travelling out there, the towns were just so depressing. Not having the water and the rain, the buildings, the shopfronts and windows were just covered in dust," Ron recalled.

"You'd see a couple of people in the street, shoulders down, you'd see a dog, and the houses are all covered in dust and their driveways were dirt. Everything was dirt except the dried weeds against the fences. And no-one around. It just looked like deserted townships."

At Cumnock Ron took a photo of a sheep property and used that as a reference for a painting he completed when he and Helen arrived home.

The painting was raffled through Rotary and raised more than $2700.

Wingham people have got to be congratulated, because they were all putting their hands in their pockets for the fire appeal at the time, and then also for the drought.

Ron Hindmarsh

"And that was all from Wingham people." Ron said.

"Wingham people have got to be congratulated, because they were all putting their hands in their pockets for the fire appeal at the time, and then also for the drought.

"So I reckon the people in Wingham did extremely well to do that, to support the farmers."

Prior to his trip out west, Ron had donated a painting he had done of a dry creek bed to Gloucester Rotary Club, who raised $550 by auctioning it off.

Added to the funds raised by the two paintings by Ron was a donation of $500 from the Wingham Branch of the Commonwealth Bank.

Mrs Judy Smith from Wingham was the lucky person who won the raffle of Ron's sheep property painting.

"She was over the moon, which was good to see," Ron said.