Australian communities are great at pulling together in times of need.
Australian communities are great at pulling together in times of need. LuminaStock

Little kindnesses prove big help when facing crisis

I was sitting in my office at home the other day reflecting on the year behind me and wondering about the year ahead; what adventures, experiences and opportunities would present themselves.

As I was doing this, I fell into a very pleasant, quiet space from which I could hear the neighbourhood sounds merging over each other, muted among the humidity and brightness of what was a truly beautiful North Queensland morning.

It's those sounds that make our little street special, a small microcosm of our larger community in Mackay. The laughter, the birds singing, the chat heard over the fence, the muted tones of a phone ringing somewhere, a machine starting and running and then being turned off, making the silence that follows even more dense until the next brief noise intrudes into the torpor of a tropical morning.

As happens when you've got time or are allowing for distraction, I was led then to thinking of the communities and people across the north and west of our part of the world so recently and severely devastated and what the days had been like for them, their families and their friends.

We've had our fair share of challenges up this way and this past few months there has been (for some) the end of a major drought, fires through the rainforest and then floods the likes of which are supposedly a one-in-500-year event.

My heart goes out to the many rural families on stations across the north already reeling from years of drought who would - when the rains started - have been feeling so happy that it had finally broken, to then be crushed by the aftermath of having a year's worth of rain in a week.

Thousands of cattle, horses and other livestock destroyed and the soul of the bush and the incredibly resilient people in it struggling in their acknowledgement of this new crisis. How much can a person, a family or a relationship bear when these things happen one atop the other?

The stories of support and generosity of spirit that has helped to begin the rebuilding for so many people are truly wonderful and provide a real sense of the nature of our communities. It seems that when the going gets tough the tough truly do get going.

While money may help, the things that shape and make our community are the little kindnesses that show people in need that there is a genuine care in our community. Put the billy on, have a chat, lend an ear, lend a hand.

Show your gratitude that you can make a difference so that when, like me, you're sitting and listening to the sounds of your street you'll know you're part of something good, something beyond yourself.

Nick Bennett is a facilitator and coach at