Wollongong councillor's plan to 'dress like a farmer' for drought appeal

Wollongong council staff and councillors will be encouraged to dig out their RM Williams boots and Akubra hats in an effort to “dress like a farmer” for a drought fundraiser.

Farmer John: Liberal councillor John Dorahy shows off his interpretation of a farmer outfit in the hope of convincing other Wollongong councillors to support a drought appeal. Picture: Sylvia Liber.

Farmer John: Liberal councillor John Dorahy shows off his interpretation of a farmer outfit in the hope of convincing other Wollongong councillors to support a drought appeal. Picture: Sylvia Liber.

The suggestion comes from Liberal councillor John Dorahy, who hopes to convince his colleagues at next week’s council meeting to support an event he’s dubbed “Wollongong Becomes Farmer For A Day”. 

“The drought is a major topic of conversation, and it’s not just that we are in a severe drought, but the fact that farmers are finding it terribly difficult to make ends meet and get the fodder to their stock,” he said.

“So there’s a need for us to be farmer-friendly and look after the people who are in situations worse off than us.”

With all of NSW now in drought, Cr Dorahy said he was hoping councillors and the 1200-strong staff of Wollongong council would be willing to take part in his event, which could be held in the city’s Arts Precinct.

“I’d like them to get involved with the theme behind it – which is to be a farmer for a day – or at least to help the farmers in some small way,” he said.

“And I’d also like as many of our residents to get involved too. This would go some way to helping people to meet their costs.”

Hopefully people will think about what they’re going through – you know ‘how can I help’ – and that would be fantastic.

Cr Dorahy

He hopes the event would be held before the end of this month.

Asked what a farmer would dress like, Mr Dorahy suggested boots, jeans, a shirt and hat, and also said people could dress as a “farm hand”.

“I’ve got my RMs on already, and I guess you could wear jeans and a shirt, the brown belt and brown shoes – and probably a hat of some sort too, and Akubra,” he said. “Dressing up helps to create a connection with the farmers, by being a farmer for a day. Hopefully people will think about what they’re going through – you know ‘how can I help’ – and that would be fantastic.”

He said he had already gained support from his Liberal councillor colleagues Leigh Colacino and Cameron Walters for the event, and was reasonably confident other councillors would support the move.

“I’d be really disappointed if anyone denied it or thought that councillors shouldn’t be involved,” he said.

Councillors will vote on the event next week.

As news of the drought dominates the headlines, similar proposals have been put forward at a number of Illawarra schools which will hold dress-like-a-farmer days to raise money.