An "exhausted" Brendan Farrell was frantically loading the last trucks at his Burrumbuttock farm tonight ahead of a dawn departure on Friday.
The cavalcade of 175 trucks, loaded with the hopes of drought-stricken farmers, will roll out of Walbundrie Showgrounds about 6am bound for Armidale.
The Burrumbuttock Hay Runners is once again taking its huge convoy on the road to mark the Australia Day weekend; this time delivering life-saving fodder - and priceless goodwill - to 730 farmers in the Armidale and wider region.
In a Facebook video update on January 22, Mr Farrell said the departure point had been changed to Walbundrie Showgrounds due to the logistics of recent rain.
"It's a little bit wet underfoot (at Burrumbuttock)," he said.
"We can get trucks in and out but with 500 people there, it's going to be a bit boggy.
"Trucks will load at Burrumbuttock then they will go 16 kilometres out to Walbundrie footy oval where the footy club out there has told us we can use the facilities ... so that's a big relief.
"Rotary clubs from Albury are coming out to do cooking for us on the Thursday night."
It's one of those things that had to be done ... Armidale has been in trouble for some time now. My hand is still up to try and help people.Brendan Farrell
Mr Farrell said teams had worked "around the clock" at Mount Gambier and Horsham as well as Burrumbuttock to load trucks in time.
He acknowledged taking trucks up to Corryong to deliver hay to fire-affected farmers had "put us behind".
The convoy is expected to follow a well-mapped out route up the Hume Freeway and Mr Farrell has been liaising with the RMS, highway patrol and other traffic services "to make it as safe as possible".
And he reiterated that sending hay north was one of those things "that had to be done".
"Armidale has been in trouble for some time now ... my hand is still up to try and help people," Mr Farrell said.
The convoy will make a stop-over in Singleton before making its way to Armidale and the next logistical challenge of getting hay out to farmers.
On Sunday, songstress Sara Storer will perform for the runners and is sure to bring the house down with the song she wrote paying tribute to their efforts.
As for these volunteers' efforts to help a fellow Aussie in need as the country celebrates its national day, well, "you can't get anymore Australian than that", Mr Farrell said.
- TOMORROW: More reports, pictures.