By Raquel Mustillo
LIMESTONE Coast residents opened their hearts and wallets in aid of the Lucindale-Avenue Range bushfire, raising more than $190,000 for fire-affected families at Saturday night’s mega-auction.
Machinery, accommodation packages, vouchers and labour hire were among the 160 lots valued at $100,000 auctioned at the event to generate funds for bushfire relief.
The incredible figure from the auction brings the total fundraising effort to almost $210,000 – including an event held in Lucindale last month featuring Adelaide Crows players – with all funds raised to be distributed to families affected by the January fire.
Mega-auction coordinator Amanda Carter said event organisers were overwhelmed by the strong attendance and generosity at the event, with attendees bidding on a range of items including a pure wool floor rug, framed prints, signed AFL memorabilia and live animals.
“We had no idea we would raise that much, it completely blew our expectations out of the water,” she said. “Before the auction we were wondering if we would be able to get enough people on the night because we had so many items to get through.
“Organisers Georgie McKay and Greg Fisher have put a lot of hours into the event and words can’t describe how we are feeling.
“We would have had close to 400 people come to the club throughout the night, which is a really great effort for our little town.”
Ms Carter praised the generous donors from across the region and as far as Adelaide who donated items, goods and services to be auctioned at the event.
“To have $100,000 worth of items donated and to end up with nearly $190,000 is just absolutely mind-blowing,” she said.
“We continued to get donations up until a couple of days before the auction, Limestone Coast Motorcycle and Small Engines donated a log splitter worth more than $5000 which we also auctioned off.
“We also auctioned off one of our local single farmers which was a lot of fun and for a great cause. “Most items doubled what they were worth and people were more than happy to bid generously.
“The community of Robe has been absolutely sensational, they put together a massive basket of items and services with $3000 and a lot of other communities have also been very generous.”
The funds will be distributed to families in need by the Naracoorte Lucindale Council, which has continued to help with enquiries about the fire recovery efforts and capture requests for support from the community. Naracoorte Lucindale mayor Erika Vickery praised organisers and attendees for supporting the fundraising effort.
“It was just fantastic and the items that were donated by the businesses and individuals were really good practical items and of high value,” she said.
“People really rallied behind the event and those who were bidding on the night were so generous and had a real humility – they wanted to get on with it and raise as much as they could.”
Ms Vickery said council was continuing to provide assistance to individuals and families affected by the recent fire, primarily by connecting offers of help with those who need assistance.
“The coordination between those donating and who need is it going through council and we still urge people who need help to contact council, but we recognised that this will be an ongoing and long-term recovery,” she said.
“There are absolutely acres of land and kilometres of fences that have been destroyed and being down at Avenue Range this week, you can see the fencing contractors are very busy and the BlazeAid volunteers are working very hard.
“We have also been working quite closely with Kingston District Council whose experience from the Keilira fires has been invaluable in helping our response and recovery.”