Edwina Robertson was supposed to be taking a holiday from her life as a country wedding photographer when something caught her eye. It was her friend Paddy’s Instagram account. He lived in Condobolin in the Central West of New South Wales, and he was constantly uploading stories about how dry it was. How often he was feeding his sheep. And how tough the drought was.
Then more stories from more friends in the bush began to roll in. People feeding stock, people praying for rain and people doing the best they can.
And it was in that moment, Edwina realised that instead of turning a blind eye like most of the country and the government, she needed to do something.
Take a look at some of Edwina’s photos from her One Bucket campaign here…
With over 99 per cent of New South Wales currently in drought, Edwina knew she had to put faces to the statistics. She decided the city needed to be made aware of what farmers and their families were enduring
So she packed up her truck, and two weeks ago set off from her hometown of Toowoomba in Queensland to some of the most desolate areas of New South Wales telling stories of people in drought.
Mamamia Out Loud is about to head off and do two live shows in the bush, hear why here:
“Basically the idea is to generate awareness and let people know about the realities of the drought. It’s not just ‘99 per cent of New South Wales is drought affected’ it’s Farmer Joe who’s spending $20,000 a week feeding his sheep, and there’s Farmer Kate whose had to destock because she’s run out of water and is using a bucket of water a day to keep herself and her household clean. So this is the whole point of One Bucket,” she told me as she was pulled over on the side of the road between Merriwa and Scone in New South Wales’ Upper Hunter Valley.
Since that fateful day she’s driven over 2200 kilometers in 12 days, stopping in country towns and asking people to tell her their stories, and she’s partnered with Queensland charity Drought Angels, so people can have a place to donate to when they read about what she is doing.
Edwina is no stranger to setting off for a good cause. Last year she traveled over 27,000km across Australia to bridge the massive gap between city and country, taking photographs and documenting it as ‘Wander of the West.’
But this journey is different.
“It’s tough… I’m trying to do my best, but I can’t help these people any more than I am, and they’re so helpless. The government is just not doing anything, they’ve got their head in the sand about it,” she said.
“No one asks to be in this predicament and no one can make it rain, and it is one of these scenarios that people just do their best. They’re so stoic, and they come across so positively but you know that they’re struggling. You can see it in their eyes.”
“People of the land, they don’t like to ask for help, they don’t like to be vulnerable but they need it the most right now. The people that aren’t asking need it the most.”
Right now, 99% of New South Wales is in drought while other parts of the country are in drought, on drought watch or about to go into drought onset.
Farmers are doing it tough so we're taking Mamamia Out Loud on the road with a series of live shows for drought relief. We'll be in Tamworth on Friday 17th August and Dubbo on the 20th of September and all profits raised go back into local communities, thanks to our partner charity, DroughtAngels. Grab your tickets and support our farmers here, and if you'd like to sponsor someone to attend email [email protected]