Booked out: Yarragon CFA's massive fundraiser
 Baw Baw News  

By // 15:30, Thursday 17 September 2015

yarragon book fair 2015 warragul baw baw citizen by william pj kulich

FUNDS from this year’s Yarragon Book Fair fundraiser will pay for a new communications centre for local CFA volunteers.

Above: CFA and book club volunteers Jaimie Pompei, Michael O'Toole, Melinda Kemp and John Camm. Photo: William PJ Kulich. PRN01017

First published in the 24 July 2015 edition of the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen. All dates relative to then.

Every year the Yarragon and Darnum-Ellinbank fire brigades get together to hold a book fair in Yarragon. Last year the groups raised around $22,000, up from 2013’s $18,000.


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“This year has gone well,” Yarragon brigade spokesperson Geoff Conway told the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen.

“What we’ve realised is that last year was a little bit of a one-off, which was brilliant.

“We’ve had good stock and people have been pretty enthusiastic and very happy with what they’ve taken away.

“Certainly the weather has kept a few people away – yesterday wasn’t nearly as crazy as the year before – but we’re on a par with what we did in 2013, which was a great year, so we have no concerns.”

Visitors and donors to the fair came from “all over Victoria.”

“We’ve gone up to Sale, we’ve been to Melbourne to collect books, stuff like that,” Mr Conway said.

“There’s a lady in a bookshop at The Basin who gives us a lot of stock, she’s just lovely.”

There have been many local donors too, including former Yarragon bookshop owner Peter Lenders.

“He’s a great supporter of our book fair, he’s been terrific.”


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Mr Conway said the community spirit of previous years’ book fairs was as evident as ever this year.

“During the week when we were setting up, people who aren’t connected with the brigade in any way just dropped in and said ‘okay, what can I do to help?’ And they’ll spend two or three hours here,” he said.

We’d have people who aren’t brigade members spend the whole day with us yesterday or today just helping out.”

In addition to the humans and books at the fair, a result of last year’s fundraiser was also present. The Yarragon brigade’s new light tanker stood proudly at the entrance of the town hall which housed the event.

“We’ve only had that a few weeks,” Mr Conway said.

“It’s only going into service in the next couple of weeks, so we’ve been training on it and we’ve been getting the kilometres up for its first service.

“That will probably be commissioned [this month].

“The old slip-on, which is 10 years old and getting a bit tired, a bit like the firefighters, that’s for sale by tender and we’re in the process of disposing of that now.

“That’ll go off to a good home hopefully.”

This year the funds will go towards a much-needed refurbishment of a local CFA communications centre.

“The one we have got was built in 1980 and it’s a bit dodgy,” Mr Conway said.

“The tin cans and the string is getting a bit frayed and the cans have gone a bit rusty, so we’re going to totally refurbish the communications room and rebuild that before the end of the year.”


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With around 50,000 books sorted, of which around 30,000 were put on display and “probably about half, maybe a little bit over” of that sold, the contribution of the volunteers was massive.

“There’s a lot of work that goes into it and tremendous effort on the part of our brigade and the Darnum Ellinbank brigade members and a lot of other people as well,” Mr Conway said.

“We’re incredibly fortunate with the amount of support that we get from our brigade members and the community for what we do here.

“As we’ve said before, we appreciate the support CFA gives us, but we understand the constraints that they have to deal with.

“Being typical firefighters there’s always another toy we can buy and there’s always something else that would make a difference to the work we do as firefighters. This enables us to do that without feeling restricted.”

Stock not sold by the CFA will go on to support other causes.

“They went to the Brotherhood of St Lawrence last year. This year, there’s a big truck coming which will take all the leftover books to Lifeline up in the Latrobe Valley, who run a book fair, so all our leftover stock goes to them,” Mr Conway said.

“It’s brilliant; they just keep going around.”

The book fair was held on 11 and 12 July .

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