East Gippsland comes together after two long years

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After a few tough years, East Gippsland finally comes together over two big nights featuring Australian legend, Paul Kelly.

Something good finally came to the East Gippsland community in March in the form of Australia’s premier singer Paul Kelly. Along with his band and some strong support acts, they gave locals an unforgettable night out in both Buchan and Mallacoota.Audience at the Rural Recharge in East Gippsland

The two gigs were part of the Rural Recharge program and allowed the East Gippsland community to take a well-deserved break in stunning lingering summer weather.

Launched by the Victorian Government in 2019 with an initial $750,000 grant in response to severe droughts and then expanded due to the 2020 bushfires, the Rural Recharge program has provided welcome relief from those times, as well as the additional pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic.

East Gippsland Shire Council Mayor Cr Mark Reeves said that for Mallacoota and many East Gippsland towns the past two years have been “a traumatic and difficult time”.

“This town has been fire drought affected, it’s been drought affected and it’s been COVID-19 affected,” he said.

“People have been really hurting in this part of the world and Rural Recharge and events like this helps to glue communities back together.”Paul Kelly performing at the Rural Recharge in East Gippsland

“Over the past couple of years, we haven’t had the opportunity to get people together to actually talk, share stories, and then to listen to some of the best music in the country.”

Long-time Mallacoota resident Carol Hopkins has struck it lucky. She’s a big fan of both ARIA Hall of Fame singer and songwriter Paul Kelly and key band members Vikka and Linda Bull.

“I love all the Paul Kelly songs - I’m excited to have a dance and just come together as a community,” she said.

“It was so obvious to me just watching our town how much we need to be together and how much we’ve missed each other.

“With this concert it’s just been so great for us to have something like this to look forward to.”

Support acts Gordi, Rusty Berther and Gippsland’s own Harry Hookey proved very popular at the two concerts, which were restricted to each area’s local communities. Revellers also enjoyed free food and refreshments from local suppliers at the two gigs.

For more information visit Regional Gippsland Partnership.