Brendan Farrell’s one of the first blokes to say he loves nothing more than a good drop of rain.
The Burrumbuttock Hay Runners hero has witnessed the worst ravages of drought in man, woman and beast during his countless trips to help struggling farmers and outback communities.
So the irony of being stranded by flooding at Longreach this week wasn’t lost on “Bumpa”.
With his big rig grounded after getting stuck on an outback station, Mr Farrell has been left to literally cool his heels in the Queensland town after widespread heavy rain caused flooding across much of the state.
Massive rainfalls of more than 100mm – and in some parts up to 400mm – drenched Queensland bringing a welcome reprieve for many farmers.
“It’s a godsend,” Mr Farrell said.
“The rain will soak back into that black dirt and bring up the Flinders grass and Mitchell grass, which is great for cattle.
“However some of the cattle are in such poor condition they don’t have the energy to get out of the wet bog.
“And they’ll still need dry hay.”
Deliveries of those big bales of hay – and hope – are on hold for the moment though.
“My truck got stuck; I was on an outback station delivering hay (when the flooding hit),” Mr Farrell said on Tuesday.
“We flew back into town in a four-wheel-drive and that’s where we’ve stayed.”
The enforced stopover has given Mr Farrell time to reflect on the state of the nation and country communities.
He said while the rain would make the grass grow and lift spirits, it wouldn’t necessarily turn around the fortunes of farmers.
“Floods don’t bring in money and many farmers are still financially stuffed for the next two years,” he said.
“I know one cockie who is nearly $7.5 million in debt – I mean how do you come back from that?”
Mr Farrell spent last weekend playing a fairly ordinary round of golf with some of the good folk of Muttaburra.
It was part of the official opening of the town’s new golf shed, a $10,000 project he brought to fruition after a BHR trip there in 2017.
“The farmers helped put it together over six weeks and now there’s a shed that will sit there for the next 100 years with our plaque on it,” Mr Farrell said.
“There’s no way the 21 members could have raised that type of money for it.”
Now he’s turned his attention to securing the $15,000 needed to build a toilet block at Cunnamulla after the 2018 Australia Day hay run.
“The blow flies don’t even go in the toilets at Cunnamulla – that’s how bad they are,” he said.