Support for Australian town

Alexandra people are being urged to offer whatever help they can to the residents of their namesake town in Victoria, which has been surrounded by the bushfires.

Central Otago Mayor Malcolm Macpherson said the two Alexandras shared more than just a name.

They were of similar size, both had mining and pastoral farming heritage, were near man-made lakes and had similar tourism and horticulture interests.

"Alexandra in Victoria is in the eye of the current firestorms. Many of nearby Maryville's 600 residents are sheltering in the high school in Alexandra, as are people from the surrounding rural area and other small townships," he said.

The Alexandra Rotary Club had hosted members from its counterpart in Australia for the past five years and considered them "family", he said.

He urged Central Otago people to do whatever they could to support the victims of the bushfires, directing donations to the Red Cross or the Salvation Army. The Rotary club would also act as a collection agency.

Alexandra Rotarian Don Forbes, who had received and hosted an exchange visit to the Victorian town, said he had been in touch with his Australian friends to check they were all right.

"The couple we hosted are only a couple of kilometres away from the fires but they're safe," Mr Forbes said.

"It's hard to believe that Maryville, which we visited when we were there, such a beautiful town, has completely gone."



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