At the gate of a farming property in Julia Creek, a mailbox is stuffed with little luxuries hand delivered from the city – small treats the woman who lives at the farm otherwise wouldn’t buy for herself.
Felicity Abell doesn’t know the family who lives at the property. She could see the farmhouse in the distance when she pulled to the side of the highway while on a road trip around Queensland, randomly choosing the mailbox to deliver another Bush Bundle.
The woman who found the Bush Bundle in her mailbox told Felicity her children thought Christmas had come early.
She’s one of the hundreds of women, together with their families, who have received a Bush Bundle – a small box with everyday luxuries carefully chosen, packed, and delivered to make a farmer feel special for even just one moment of one day.
Since 2020 Felicity has travelled thousands of kilometres to deliver Bush Bundles herself, spent hundreds of dollars posting Bush Bundles with Australia Post, and organised bulk deliveries to rural areas after natural disasters.
Her favourite delivery method though, is random mailbox drops along the way when travelling to her hometown of Theodore or across the state.
“The Bush Bundle is a charity-based organisation, whereby we collect donated items of self-care and complimentary nature from the good people of the city, pack them up, and send them out bush to farmers and graziers,” Felicity said.
“It was in conversation with my Dad many years after I moved from Theodore I realised it was expected ‘all money goes back into the farm’.
“I have been traveling back to my hometown for many years now, and my family and I travel to rural areas as much as work and life allows, and I see and hear these words reflected.
“This really stuck with me, so I asked the question to a group of Australians, “When was the last time you bought yourself something you wanted, as opposed to something you needed?”
“The overwhelming response was, “I can’t remember”. And so, The Bush Bundle was born.”
Sometimes people will reach out to request Bush Bundles for their community, for example, following a natural disaster. Other times people will contact Felicity directly and nominate a neighbour, family or friend.
“An adult daughter living in Brisbane city asked me to send a Bush Bundle to her parents back home on the property, saying floods had come through and they had been out fencing for days and she missed them,” Felicity said.
“Another lady told me her neighbour was struggling with some mental health challenges, and it was harvest season, so her husband wasn’t around.
“It’s about taking what we can easily access in the city and sharing it with people in the country. It’s a different world and a different way of life, but everyone deserves a little treat.”
Felicity says what’s inside Bush Bundles isn’t overwhelming – but where they are delivered and who they are delivered to makes the concept so impactful.
“I send things you don’t find out west or that farmers wouldn’t buy for themselves. Many charities supply necessities, which of course are needed, but the Bush Bundle is a bit different because we send little everyday luxury items, things they wouldn’t buy for themselves,” Felicity said.
Felicity said the impact The Bush Bundle has created was beyond what she had expected.
“My main aim was quite simple – somewhere, miles away in a farmhouse, a farmer would open their Bush Bundle and smil
e, that was it, that was my goal,” she said.
“I wanted to make farmers feel happy but what I have achieved is deeper than that.
“Everyone wants to feel like they matter. I have heard stories of some of the woes farmers have going on and I wanted to make them smile, even for a moment.
“I have received feedback saying the Bush Bundles made them feel like they were not alone and they had not been forgotten.
“It’s easy to be forgotten in remote areas and it’s nice to know someone cares, even a stranger. It took a few letters of feedback to realise I had made that impact on lives.”
Felicity has heart touching stories from women who had received the bundles.
“A lady in Winton told me she wouldn’t have otherwise been able to give her children anything for Christmas,” Felicity said.
Another lady’s husband had left her and the family just before Christmas. She received a Bush Bundle which was distributed through the local hospital. Felicity found out the family played Uno on Christmas day together which had beenincluded in their Bush Bundle.
“That was a nice moment considering the hell that had been through.”
Felicity said her idea was motivated to action following the passing of a close friend.
“She passed away from cancer in 2020 at a time when you couldn’t attend funerals. She was in her 30s with three children, and she died on Mothers Day. I realised life was too short and I needed to give this a go,” Felicity said.
“I’d love for it to become a charity and be able to help more people, to be able to work on it more and maybe even pay for a small truck to travel to some remote places.”
Felicity was the Gold winner for the ROAR Success awards in 2022, the Bronze winner in 2021, nominated for her local shire Australia Day community award in 2022 and 2021, and has been interviewed for podcasts and publications.
To donate, support or connect with Felicity visit The Bush Bundle or search The Bush Bundle on social media.
Story by Emma Clarke