Shoppers at the MacArthur Central shopping centre in the Brisbane CBD might have been a little surprised to see people wearing Rotary aprons and carrying collection tins on the 3 days from the 17th to the 19th of October. These normally mild-mannered and retiring Rotarians from the Brisbane Club were moved by the scale and severity of the drought across Queensland and NSW to ask shoppers for donations for the Western Queensland Drought Appeal. 
John Smerdon and Cameron Gibson on the job at the booth.
 
Over the three days, in excess of $1150 was collected. This was added to cash donations from members and the total raised will be matched 2:1 from the Rotary Club of Brisbane's charitable foundation and donated to the Western Queensland Drought Appeal. Funds donated to the Western Queensland Drought Appeal are loaded onto pre-paid debit cards or vouchers and distributed directly to landholders in western Queensland, for them to spend on personal needs in their local communities. This keeps the money in the region, allows landholders to choose how they spend the money, and gives local businesses a boost with the extra trade. In this case funds will be distributed near Longreach, one of the many areas that has not had a break from the recent rains in eastern Queensland and NSW.
Jillanne Myers Anchors the day 2 effort.
John Smerdon and Jaqui De Lacy ready for action.
 
Many thanks go to Cameron Gibson for chairing and organising the fundraising event and Rotarians John Smerdon, Jillanne Myers, Robyn Burridge, Denise Schellbach, Michael Stephens, Jaqui De Lacy, Ryan Muller, Luke Marshall and Chris Muir for staffing the booth. Further thanks go to the operators of the MacArthur Central Shopping Centre for allowing us to use their space for the collection booth and to Wal Bishop for his substantial cash donation. We also extend our appreciation to the proprietors of shops within the centre for putting together and donating an attractive basket of goods to serve as the prize for the lucky draw for donors.
 
As of the time of writing fundraising continues, but the total that will be sent to Longreach will at least exceed $6500.