30 August, 2021
Driving for drought
A convoy of LandCruisers heads West to raise money for drought
A FUNDRAISER for Drought Angels is bringing an eye-catching iconic convoy of LandCruisers through 18 towns over eight nights, including Barcaldine and Ilfracombe tomorrow.
After lunch in Barcaldine, the convoy will head to the Wellshot Hotel in Ilfracombe from 3.30pm where Longreach locals and surrounding area graziers are invited to call in and have a yarn, a drink or dinner with the convoy of adventurers.
The iconic 40 Series LandCruisers, which are so synonymous with the bush, are numbering at 25 vehicles in the convoy and will be in Longreach on Wednesday morning from 8.30am, stopping for photo opportunities at the ASHOF and other iconic locations in town.
The convoy will lap Eagle Street as they take a back road to Isisford for morning tea, before heading to Blackall to share their lunch money around.
They’ll travel a stock route road to Tambo arriving mid-arvo where they’ll pull up for the night for the laughable “chicken races” at the Royal Carrangarra Hotel, which was such a memorable highlight of last year’s inaugural fundraiser that it was included again this year.
Last year was supposed to be a one-off fundraising event for founder Brent Reeman but when the Long Drive raised $52,000 – well past its $40,000 target – Brent and his team of fellow four-wheel drivers knew they would have to return to the road and are this year aiming to collect a further $80,000 for Queensland-based charity, Drought Angels.
“The four things we're trying to achieve include wanting to get the awareness of the drought back on the agenda as there’s still 65 per cent of Queensland in drought and that's forgotten by a lot of people,” Mr Reeman said.
“We're obviously raising money for Drought Angels who are fantastic charity based in Chinchilla, plus we want to highlight the areas where we go to encourage people to get out here and see some of this great country and spend some money in the regions.
“And the fourth thing is to have a lot of fun for ourselves.”
Mr Reeman said the idea came to him at Christmas in 2019 when he was thinking about the drought and watching the bushfires ravage the country.
“Drought was really gripping the country and I wanted to donate some money and I thought ‘Maybe I should do something a bit more meaningful’, but I didn’t know what that was,” he said.
“At the same time I had just finished restoring one of these old LandCruisers, and I wanted to take it for a big drive.
“And the two ideas kind of just came together in my mind and I thought, ‘Why don't I just do that and maybe I can raise a thousand dollars from family and friends’.
“I then, maybe foolishly, put it out on some Facebook groups and a bunch of people jumped on and said, ‘Yeah, that's a great idea. We're going to come along too’.”
“It’s a passion project for me – I care about regional Queensland and I do a lot of work out here so I see firsthand the effects of drought and I see the suicide rates and when I hear of people having to shoot their stock, I think ‘I can do something. It's not much, but I can do something to maybe make a little bit of difference’,” Mr Reeman said.
“We have some excellent partners including Hastings Deering, Toyota Fleet Management, Telstra, QRL, Queensland Outback Tourism and RACQ Foundation, plus Local governments and many other generous sponsors and donors who we are so appreciative of.”
The event was made possible with support from event partner, Classic LandCruiser Club of Queensland.
Drought Angels is committed to providing heartfelt, discreet and personalised support to farmers and rural communities.