Free fence posts help 98-year-old Korweinguboora farmer on his recover

Published on 17 March 2022

Douglas Hedges inpsects the delivery of free fence posts for his Dad's property.jpg

Eligible Moorabool residents with severe and lasting damage to their properties following the June storm were identified by the Storm Recovery Team last year and invited to take part in the program to receive up to 1km worth of fence posts.

The fence posts and droppers are made from wind-blown timber that was collected by Bushfire Recovery Victoria (BRV) during their residential storm clean-up program. The collected storm debris was then turned into usable fence materials at Macedon Ranges Shire’s green waste site in Romsey.

Not a single piece of timber is wasted at the facility, with all debris or green waste turned into either fence posts, firewood, mulch, tree stakes, sawdust and even materials for fish habitats. 

Thomas Hedges is 98 years old and lives on a 100-acre farm in Korweinguboora. He and his son Douglas run the farm but have not been able to keep cattle or grow crops since the June 2021 storm.

“I got up in the morning and I looked at that big tree that’s over in the paddock there. It’s 10 foot deep and 20 feet across and we’d often thought we’d have to take it out one day, but there’s not a bulldozer ever made that could’ve pushed it out, it’s that big,” Douglas said.

“I thought, no it couldn’t be down. You wouldn’t believe a storm would’ve taken it down.”

The Hedges’ received their delivery of free fence posts in early March.

“They’re good and they’re sawn posts, we weren’t expecting that,” said Douglas.

Douglas and Thomas need about three times the amount of fence posts provided but are very pleased that they now have a good start.

Fallen trees had flattened the Hedges’ fence lines all the way around the property, and it was a slow and steady task for Douglas to remove them, one tree at a time.

“From the bottom of the property right to the very top, flattened the whole way. I’m talking trees, on top of trees, on top of trees,” he said.

Thomas has lived on his Korweinguboora farm for 66 years and has never seen a storm like the one Moorabool experienced in June 2021.

“Normal storms will blow trees over, but this lifted them out of the ground. And it stacked them. I’ve never seen anything like that,” Thomas said.

It’s been a long recovery journey and it’s far from over, but the Hedges’ are looking forward to getting cattle back in their paddocks.

“We can’t use the farm as a farm, for cattle since last June. Or for crops because of the kangaroos until I get those fences back up,” Douglas said.

“Every paddock has areas flattened with the trees, there wasn’t one area or paddock that you could do anything with – have stock in or anything. We had to shut everything down, stop everything, get rid of everything, “Thomas said.

Douglas will be the one installing the new fence posts, but he has to be careful after the initial clean-up process took a toll on his health.

“You wouldn’t believe this. I did three months of the fence work, day in and day out, I got up one morning and couldn’t walk from the veranda over the open the gate,” he said.

“Turns out I had to get a pacemaker. My heartbeat was down to 30. The worst part of that is, the two things you can’t go near when you have a pacemaker is a generator and a chainsaw, so now I can’t use a chainsaw!”

Douglas and Thomas Hedges, from Korweinguboora_3.jpg

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