Open all hours: Tara’s Catholic community central to bushfire support

Catholic community

Tara’s Catholic community is working day and night to support survivors of the district’s latest bushfire.

Last week’s out-of-control fire in regional Queensland burnt tens of thousands of hectares. It claimed two lives. Dozens of properties were destroyed. People – families – have nothing left. Zilch.

Tara’s Parish priest Fr Jack MacGinley, who stuck to the Tara and districts’ Mass timetable throughout the disaster, says the local Catholic community are stepping up to help.

They’re keeping their op shop open – all hours. “Goods all free, clothes all free, help yourself” says the sign at the front.

It’s clearly a good idea. The need is obvious. MacGinley says bushfire survivors had been picking up clothes and goods at 6am.

Survivor Amelia Windsor echoes MacGinley’s comment. “There’s so many people who have lost their houses and, it’s just like, what do you do? You don’t know where to go,’ she says.

Vinnies steps up

Hundreds of evacuees moved from Tara to nearby Dalby one hour east of Tara when the fire threatened the township.

Dalby’s Catholic community had its doors wide open. St Vincent de Paul Society president Carmel Hart says they are seeing a lot of urgent need.

“It’s just really hard because some of them had lost everything” she says.

Some people have lost their lovely homes. Others had been living in sheds and the like and struggling.

It is the second time some of the survivors have had fire steal all their goods this year.

“They had only just been getting things back together and it’s happened again,” she said.

“It’s a pretty sad story.”

The Dalby Vinnies’ conference’s 13 volunteers are working around the clock handing out clothes and blankets.

“At the moment, that’s about all we can do,” Hart says.

“It will be ongoing and down the track when everything settles down, we will know more about what people want.”

By Saturday, most survivors had either returned home or found accommodation with friends. Others have been accommodated by the housing department in motels in town.



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