Army of volunteers helps in Rochester recovery operation 



  • Disaster Relief Australia (DRA) and NAB Foundation join forces to support the Rochester community.
  • Over 200 volunteers from DRA and NAB will be on the ground in Rochester as part of the NAB Foundation Recovery Crew to help with repairs and the clean-up following two major floods.
  • Volunteers will carry out major repairs to three schools, local homes, and other infrastructure.

The Victorian town of Rochester will receive much-needed help from Disaster Relief Australia (DRA) and the NAB Foundation Recovery Crew repairing and cleaning up long-lasting damage from repeat floods.

Rochester had the worst flood the town has ever experienced in October 2022 and more flooding in early 2024.

DRA, a veteran-led volunteer organisation, which comprises former and serving defence force personnel, emergency response specialists and motivated civilians, along with support from NAB Foundation, will be co-funding and putting boots on the ground for Operation Rankin* from early March.

More than 200 volunteers from Disaster Relief Australia, NAB and the local community will be repairing damage to schools, residential homes, gardens, parks and walking tracks to help Rochester get back on its feet.

Rochester Ward Councillor, Paul Jarman, said the support was warmly welcomed by the community.

“The floods in January this year came as a really cruel blow to Rochester,” Cr Jarman said.

“Across town, we made a lot of progress from the 2022 floods, only for this to be undone by another major flood just over a year later but having this many helping hands in Rochester will get us back on track.”

As part of the operation, DRA will be applying the skills and experience of its military volunteers to serve the community and streamline efforts.

DRA Chief Executive Geoff Evans said the organisation was well-equipped to support.

“With much of our volunteer base consisting of former and serving defence force personnel, we can apply expertise in logistics and operations to quickly mobilise support and help communities recover from a disaster,” Mr Evans said.

NAB Personal Banking Group Executive Rachel Slade said the partnership between DRA and NAB Foundation would help communities like Rochester and others across Australia recover from disasters now and into the future.

“With the precision and efficiency of DRA, plus more than 150 NAB colleagues willing to volunteer, we can essentially deploy supercharged working bees where support is needed,” Ms Slade said.

“Natural disasters are becoming more frequent and severe. NAB is here to serve customers well and help our communities prosper. We must help.”

DRA recently received Federal Government funding for ongoing support across Australia following disasters. Motivated civilians who would like to lend a hand can register to volunteer through the DRA volunteer portal.


Notes to editors:

  • *DRA names operations to honour significant local military figures. Major General George James Rankin was a local farmer, soldier and politician who lived and died in Rochester in 1957.
  • DRA launched in 2016, combining the skills and experience of veterans with emergency service specialists and civilian volunteers to respond to large-scale disasters.
  • NAB Foundation’s partnership grants $1 million plus in-kind support to bolster DRA’s community and corporate volunteer capacity over the next two years.
  • In addition to DRA’s recovery operation, NAB Foundation has also committed $100,000 to Rochester Community House to support projects that will help young people to recover following the floods.
  • More information on NAB’s partnership with DRA: It takes many hands – NAB News



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