The old adage ‘charity begins at home’ rings true in Tamworth, with a family home constructed as a heartwarming community gesture to help drought-ravaged farmers.

Constructed as a fundraiser for The Salvation Army and dubbed “The House That Drought Built”, the four-bedroom, two-bathroom home at 43 Eagle Avenue in Lampada, Tamworth has been lovingly curated by the local building fraternity who have donated their time and constructed the property at cost.

The project is the brainchild of Natalie and Dan Urquhart, owners of building company GJ Gardner Homes Tamworth.

Keen to support their community through a long-running drought crisis, the Urquharts initiated the project to build the house to raise funds for The Salvation Army to continue its important work supporting local farming families through its rural chaplaincy program.

“With the ongoing drought conditions in Tamworth, we wanted to do something for our local community and the farmers, specifically, to help them out throughout this time,” Natalie Urquhart said.

“Drought has affected Tamworth and our wider community over the years and all industries across Tamworth have been affected. This was about creating that sense of community.

“We wanted to do something uplifting within the community to lift people’s spirits.”

The couple enlisted the support of Tamworth Regional Council, developer Lampada and PRD Real Estate, as well as a throng of tradespeople in the community to bring the vision to fruition.
Mrs Urquhart said the project had been well received and supported by the community. Local community members have also donated money through “buying a brick” for $25.

“We’re hoping to raise in excess of $250,000 to go towards farming families and those experiencing hardship because of drought. That can be as simple as covering an electricity bill to buying bales of hay.”

The Salvation Army spokesperson Nicole Jenkinson said profits from the sale of the house, once final costs of the build are deducted, would be channelled into chaplaincy services for the region.

“The Salvation Army has a rural chaplaincy program that has been operating for decades in regional Australia and we have a number of rural chaplains on the ground,” Ms Jenkinson said.

“There are four chaplains in that general north-west New South Wales area who go out and sit at kitchen tables with the farmers and talk about where they’re at, what their needs are and how we can help. Sometimes that might be that they don’t have money to register their ute and we can help with that. Sometimes it’s more significant.”

Ms Jenkinson said there was considerable need, with more than 160 farming families in the Tamworth region identified as currently requiring assistance.

“We are so grateful to the project team, GJ Gardner, the Tamworth Council, Lampada and PRD because without their collective contributions we wouldn’t have been able to achieve what we have at the cost that we have,” Ms Jenkinson said.

“We also thank the wider Tamworth community because they’ve all helped – all the subbies who have given discounted trade work or the community members who have bought a brick to contribute to the house. It all adds up to make an amazing collaborative project.

“The Salvation Army is extremely grateful to have the support of this community and we will make sure that the funds are dedicated to farmers in the region who need an extra hand.”

The house sits on a 713sqm block and offers a spacious floor plan, butler’s pantry, multiple internal living spaces including a rumpus room and alfresco area.

It also includes ducted and zoned air-conditioning, decor and window furnishings, and a landscaped yard.

The property, which is being marketed by Dean Cummins and Amy Hughes at PRD Tamworth, will be auctioned on 25 July at 11am. | Nicole Cox
18th July 2020
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