ONE of Minyip's most beloved residents has made an incredible contribution to the town's fight for fuel.
Poet and philosopher Homer Rieth has donated his 3000 book library and 600 classical record collection to the Minyip Progress Association to help raise funds for the town's new fuel station.
Minyip has been without fuel since 2018 after its only petrol station closed.
Dr Rieth was born in Germany and moved to Australia in 1952.
As a teacher in Greek and Roman literature and philosophy, English literature and medieval and modern history, Dr Rieth lectured in Classical Studies in the Greek-Australia Centre at RMIT University. He also held the Honorary Chair of the Melbourne Poets Union.
In 1999 Dr Rieth moved to Minyip and later started a philosophy course in the town.
The course was meant to run for 12 weeks but instead lasted nine years. It has only just ceased due to Dr Rieth's ill health.
Dr Rieth is perhaps best known in poetry circles for his epic poem, Wimmera, which was published in 2009.
Dr Rieth's collection of books cover a range of topics, including art, religion, philosophy, history, poetry, film and music.
Minyip Progress Association member Keith Daniells said some books in the collection were worth hundreds of dollars.
"Homer hopes his contribution will raise a tidy sum towards the fuel project," he said.
"He didn't want his collection to go to waste and he didn't have the money to donate to the actual project, so he figured donating his whole library was the next best thing.
"We're currently looking for a book in the collection that is being sold for $1700 elsewhere.
"There are a lot of books worth quite a lot of money - we're not expecting to get the full price back, but we want to get a reasonable price on them."
Mr Daniells said Dr Rieth was one of Minyip's most beloved residents.
"His philosophy course was very well received and people travelled from all over to go to his classes. He really made the whole town interested in philosophy," he said.
"He's been unwell for a number of years but still wanted to do this amazing thing for the town."
🎥 | Poet, philosopher and Minyip resident Homer Rieth has donated 3000 books and hundreds of records to the Minyip Progress Association to help raise money for the town’s new fuel station. The association’s Keith Daniells talks about Dr Rieth’s generosity below @Wim_Mail_Timespic.twitter.com/HNLyhHhmX3— Jade Bate (@JadeBate) February 4, 2020
"We were notified in 2017 that BP was closing and it closed in early 2018. We've been trying to get something here that whole time," he said.
"The association is working on the project on a daily basis."
Mr Daniells estimated the cost of the project would be upwards of $200,000.
"We've gone for grants and are waiting to hear about them. We're still waiting on the signatures for the land," he said.
"Then it has to be built, of course, which we hope will start in March. At this stage, we're just raising finance for the project.
"It will be one of those non-manned, pre-paid stations on the corner of Mill and Main streets. The block of land is owned by GrainCorp."
Mr Daniells said Minyip residents currently had to drive a 40km/h round trip to get fuel from the next closest town, Rupanyup.
"We have lots of elderly residents who just can't do that. A fuel station is a bit like a post office - it's essential for a town's survival," he said.
In November the Minyip's Historical Society ran a Flowers for Fuel day to raise funds for the fuel project.
Co-organiser Diane Connolly said eight gardens across the region were open on the day.
"We raised over $4500 for the fuel project," she said.
Dr Rieth's collection is on display at Saddler's Second Chance shop at 77 Main Street, Minyip.
The shop is open Monday, Tuesday and Saturday from 9am to 12noon; and Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 10am to 2pm.
The shop is run by Minyip Progress Association volunteers with all funds raised going back into the community.
"We will have an official opening for the collection on March 7 from 9am to 4.30pm, and it will be open over the long weekend," Mr Daniells said.
"We hope people from Melbourne come up and spend some money in the Wimmera. It's just a matter of enticing people to come up and have a look."
Mr Daniells said he had sold about $600 worth of books in less than two days.
"I had a man from Melbourne call up and ask for a whole bunch of books, which we'll post down to him," he said.
"We have been contacting different poetry and philosophy organisations, universities and student unions about the collection.
"I'm expecting it will raise a fair bit of money for the project."
The full collection can also be viewed online at beedan.libib.com.
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