Empowering Rural Women!

Published 7th April 2023. Written by Maddison O’Brien

After more than three weeks of burning, the Hill End fire was successfully put out earlier this week. The region was rattled with billows of smoke washing over the townships and filling the skies. While most of us watched the horizon for signs of the blaze slowing down, the RFS was out there tirelessly working to contain the fire and protect assets as best they could.

Watershed Women coordinator Kennedy Porter is amongst the dedicated volunteers who had to step up and help. Kennedy played a crucial role on the incident management team operating out of the fire control centre at Cudgegong RFS. While all the Fire Fighters were out on the ground, Kennedy facilitated community meetings, managed media releases and handled other operations.

The Watershed Women event Empowering Rural Women was supposed to be held last month in conjunction with NSW Women’s Week. Local female firefighters were scheduled to run a fire safety and pump operation workshop at the event. We had some women with tickets for the day raise concerns about leaving their properties at a time of extreme fire danger. Our local caterers for the event, Kookaburra Estate, were also busy feeding the RFS staff and volunteers. With the Hill End fire raging on, Kennedy was also focused on her volunteer role with the RFS and the decision was made to postpone the Women’s event.

“The dedication of the women of the RFS shows, and they simply couldn’t be running a fire safety workshop in town when they were needed to help fight the Hill End Fire. It was also more important for our Rural Women to be at to enact their fire safety plans. The decision to postpone the event just made sense and took the stress off me as a volunteer at RFS.” Kennedy said.

Now that the smoke has settled, Kennedy has her Watershed Women hat back on. “It’s events like this that really show how our community works together and highlights the role women play in responding to a crisis. We’re excited to celebrate this with a new date for Empowering Rural Women.”

The new date for the event is Saturday, the 6th of May 2023. Watershed Women Empowering Rural Women aims to empower women by providing training and skills in otherwise male-dominated areas. We want to create connections and partnerships within the community to assist women in developing valuable skills and improving their well-being.

Tickets are $20, and women from the region are invited to come along, network with other women and learn some new skills. There are lucky draw prizes and gift bags to take home. Thank you to our amazing local sponsors. The support for this event has been overwhelming, and we’re elated to provide this opportunity in Mudgee. For tickets and more info, head to watershedlandcare.com.au/events