Nearly 3,000 fire fighters have been dispatched to combat Australia’s growing inferno that first ignited in September 2019.
More than two dozen people have lost their lives, and University of Sydney Professor Chris Dickman estimates that approximately 800 million animals across the state of New South Wales have been killed, including one-third of the state’s koalas. Across the country, the blaze has consumed 14.7 million acres.
About 400 miles to the south of Sidney, raging fires cut off the small Victoria town of Mallacoota. Roads were rendered impassable, stranding residents and restricting the delivery of supplies to those that could be shipped through the town’s port.
Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS Choules stepped up to carry out numerous deliveries, and last week, the ship delivered one particular product many of the town’s 4,000 residents would consider most-welcome during such turmoil — 800 gallons of beer.
The shipment was the product of an arrangement between the country’s navy and the Melbourne-based Carlton & United Breweries, which decided to act after learning the town’s pub was low on brew.
And while the Choules was also loaded down with food, fuel and electrical resources, it was the beer that spiked the morale of the afflicted community.
“The pub is at the heart of regional communities,” Carlton & United CEO Peter Filipovic told CNN.
"And a pub with no beer is bad enough at the best of times. After what Mallacoota residents and firies have been through the least we could do is make sure they could enjoy a beer.”
General supplies are expected to be replenished until roadways to and from the town reopen, but for the town pub, the delivery of the ice cold kegs arrived just in time.
“We were running low of supplies and a pub can’t run without beer, can it?” pub owner Lou Battel told SBS News.
“Every Australian needs a beer.”
Jon Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.