Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Farmer's friend meets Governor-General

Blaze Aid volunteer Jim Coombe was thrilled to meet Sir Peter Cosgrove when he visited to thank the organisation for its bushfire recovery work.

GRAHAM WILLIS June 18, 2014 3:20am

Jim Coombe with fellow Blaze Aid volunteers. Photo: submitted

Mia Mia’s Jim Coombe was thrilled to be introduced to Australia’s Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove recently.

Sir Peter visited Blaze Aid in Wandong to thank the volunteers who helped rebuild fences after recent bushfires.


Affectionately known as Young Jim Mr Coombes, 83, is the oldest BlazeAid volunteer.


‘‘Meeting the new Governor-General was a great experience,’’ he said.

‘‘I was introduced to him as the oldest BlazeAid volunteer and he asked how old I was and then told me I didn’t look as old as that.’’

Young Jim intended to do two weeks of volunteering work with BlazeAid starting early March, but he ended up doing fencing and teaching the art to novices over a period of five weeks.

In one of the teams he worked with he was the oldest while the youngest was an 18-year-old woman.

‘‘The best thing about the experience was seeing the expression of hope and gratitude on the faces of those farmers we were helping out,’’ Mr Coombes said

‘‘Many are reluctant to ask for help. There have been sad outcomes for some farming families when things look hopeless.

‘‘When a BlazeAid team turns up and they realise that there are people who can help them get their fences rebuilt, the mix of gratitude and relief for the assistance they receive is a great reward.

‘‘One farmer told us that our team of four did in a couple of days what he would have taken three weeks to do by himself.’’

Coombe said he has benefited physically and mentally from his experience with BlazeAid and would recommend it to anyone who can help, for a day, or a week, or whatever they can do.

Information can be found at

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