What we do – Supporting Our Aussie Farmers

Drought Angels provides a unique service for which it is has become well known within the rural sector.  We are the charity run by big hearts who offer a listening ear, a warm hug and personalised support to farming families who are impacted by natural disasters such as drought, fire & flood.

We like to tell our farmers we don’t deliver charity – but rather a thank you.  “Thank you for all you do to put the food on our tables and clothes on our backs”.

Through our direct personal contact with farmers, Drought Angels has earned a respected reputation for providing personalised, practical, heartfelt, and discreet assistance, sensitive to the needs of each family.

Tangible assistance is delivered in the form of food hampers and care packs.  Pre-Paid Visas and IGA & BP Gift Cards that bear no reference to their charitable source, empower farmers to provide for their families with dignity.  This form of direct assistance allows families to purchase supplies from their local businesses, ensuring not only the family farm remains operational, but the economy of these vital rural communities is also kept viable for future generations.

We assist those who would not normally reach out, but would prefer to battle it alone, which all too often can lead to mental health issues.

One-on-one support aides in breaking down the barriers of this proud demographic, many of whom have never received a hand up in the past. They are often the first generation of many contemplating walking off the land. These are the people of most concern and often forgotten – Drought Angels will always be there to deliver hope and respect, easing the strain caused by drought and natural disasters.

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OUR FOUNDERS

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It all began in January 2014…Natasha Johnston & Nicki Blackwell, co-workers from Chinchilla, heard stories of struggling farmers who could not afford to put food on their own tables due to the ongoing drought.  They heard heartbreaking reports of farmers having to shoot stock that were too poor to be transported to market; hearing one such report where the farmer then turned the gun on himself was the impetus for them to take action.

They knew they had to do something to help these families and ensure no-one was left feeling so helpless in the face of the ongoing drought.  They organised a fundraising event, raising enough money to assist one family.

Drought Angels was born!

Tash & Nicki would load up a ute and trailer and head off whenever possible to deliver to farming families in need, having no real idea of the impact they were having…until they started receiving heartfelt letters of gratitude – motivating them to continue their mission to support Aussie farmers.

Through an auspice agreement with Chinchilla Family Support Centre, they were originally known as Chinchilla Community Drought Fundraiser 2014.  After about 6 months, realising this was going to keep going, they put out a call on Facebook to help them come up with a better name.  It was Tash’s friend Natasha Herbert who came up with the name Drought Angels. They continued to raise awareness of the plight of Aussie Farmers in the face of drought and natural disasters and delivered their personalised and heartfelt assistance through personal deliveries and Rural Day Off (RDO) events throughout rural Queensland.

On 15th July 2016, Drought Angels Ltd was formed and became a registered charity listed with the ACNC.  Tash & Nicki became Executive Directors and Tash’s friend of 22 years Jenny Gailey joined them as a Non-Executive Director.

In August 2017 Nicki found love in Western Queensland; following her heart she made the difficult decision to leave behind the cherished charity she had co-founded.  Upon Nicki’s departure, Jenny stepped up as Executive Director assuming the role of Chief Operations Officer.  Tash’s husband, Steele Johnston, then became a Non-Executive Director.

From the early days they operated out of shipping containers in Tash’s back yard…

Having outgrown the back yard, they moved into a small warehouse, opening the Hidden Treasures Charity Shop in October 2016.  In April 2018 they moved once more to the current Drought Angels HQ at 29 Malduf Street Chinchilla where the charity shop, warehousing, and office staff all call home.

OUR directors

Tash, Jenny Steele

Today Drought Angels is overseen by three Executive Directors, Tash Johnston – Co-Founder, Jenny Gailey – Chief Operations Officer, and Steele Johnston – Logistics Manager.

All three Directors bring with them experience and knowledge from diverse work placements throughout their careers.  This has enabled them to confidently guide Drought Angels through a rapid growth phase during 2018/19 when the drought arrived on Sydney’s doorstep and awareness of the plight of drought stricken Aussie farmers hit the front pages.  Donations soared and the applications for assistance from farming families across Australia quadrupled almost overnight raising the number of families requiring assistance from less than 500 to beyond 2000.

From the devastation of the North Queensland floods in January 2019 to the unprecedented and catastrophic disaster of the bushfires during Australia’s Black Summer of 2019/2020; you will not only find Drought Angels there during the times of crisis – they’ll also be there long after the initial disaster has passed, continuing to provide assistance during the extensive recovery periods when the need is often the greatest.

Guided by Tash, Steele & Jenny, Drought Angels will always be there to ensure no Aussie farmer facing adversity due to natural disaster, will ever be forgotten!

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Tash JOHNSTON

Co-Founder /Director


Tash is the beating heart of Drought Angels Born and raised on 40 acres on the south side of Brisbane, Tash attended school in Mansfield until year 10 before completing her senior years as a boarder at The Glennie School, Toowoomba.   Many weekends and school holidays were spent at her parent’s properties at Beaudesert, Cooyar & Leyburn.

Commencing her career as a receptionist she performed admin duties for various companies including Canon where she met lifelong friend Jenny Gailey in 1994.  Her career transitioned to Accounts at Thiess where she remained for 5 years before moving to Chinchilla in 2004.

Tash met Steele on a Saturday night at the Criterion Hotel in Brisbane – the 14th of January 1995.  She spotted him across the room and thought he was pretty cute; little did she know 2 weeks later he would be moving in and the rest as they say is history….

Marrying in March 1998 they moved to Chinchilla to be closer to Steele’s family, Tash continued working in Accounts and Payroll until making the change to retail where she enjoyed the opportunity to interact with customers.

She opened her own successful gift shop which she later sold to take on shopping centre cleaning contracts along with other part time jobs.   One of those part time jobs was at Jamaica Blue where she first met Nicki.  It was through hearing the stories about the drought from the farmers who frequented the café, that the idea of Drought Angels was first born.

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Steele JOHNSTON

Warehouse Manager


Be careful when you tell your wife to get a hobby… When Tash came to Steele saying she felt as though she could be doing more to help people, that’s exactly what Steele suggested she do to fill in her spare time.  That hobby is now a non-profit organisation assisting thousands of farming families across Australia.

Steele grew up in Drillham Qld where, like most bush kids, daily chores set him up with a healthy work ethic.  He remembers the axe being bigger than him when he first started cutting firewood for the kitchen stove.

Completing his early schooling at Drillham and senior years in Miles he then moved to Brisbane to complete his four-year building trade.  It was whilst completing his apprenticeship that he met Tash at the pub who conveniently live just five minutes away from the new build site on the southside of Brisbane. Being that he was renting on the north side, “good economics called for me to be closer to work, that was the premise for me lodging with Tash.  That was two weeks after we met, and I just never left!”.

Six years after their marriage, Tash & Steele relocated to Chinchilla in 2004 purchasing 40 acres just outside Chinchilla.

Steele remained self-employed for the next 8 years contracting to local builders and direct to the public.  In August he was given the opportunity to join QGC and spent the next 9 years performing various roles including contractor management and planning/scheduling.

Steele resigned from QGC in February 2019 with the intention of joining Drought Angels, however three days later was offered the opportunity of a lifetime as Shutdown Manager for an Oil company in Iraq.  Eventually he returned to Australia and joined Drought Angels in March 2020.

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Jenny GAILEY

Chief Operations Officer


Jenny is a self-confessed city chick with a country heart… Born in London she immigrated to Australia at the age of 2 in 1971.  Raised in Brisbane she completed her schooling at Balmoral State High School.

Her first job was at Canon Australia as an Accounts Receivables Clerk, where over a ten-year period she worked her way up the ranks to Credit/Finance Officer.  It’s at Canon where she met Tash in 1994.

With the loss of her Mother who passed away at age 51, Jenny took to the skies and travelled the world for 12 months until it was time to come home and restart her life.  During this time, she worked at Price Waterhouse London and within weeks of returning to Australia she found employment with OneSteel Reinforcing expanding her finance knowledge and finally becoming PA to the National and State Managers.  It was during her time with OneSteel that Jenny honed her organisational skills and business awareness in the corporate world.

Whilst at OneSteel she met local Wynnum boy Peter Gailey.  If you are ever to meet Pete, you could be forgiven for thinking he’s from

the country…so it wasn’t a surprise when one day they decided to sell their house and business and move with their two kids to the small country town of Chinchilla which they now proudly call home.

Jenny volunteered at the family support centre before becoming a full-time employee.  Her compassion and desire to help others had found a home for five years until the opportunity arouse to help Tash run Drought Angels as Director & Chief Operations Officer.  Jenny’s life experiences have shaped who she is today.  Her passion will always be that of helping others, and the understanding of their stories, her school.

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