Actor Russell Crowe has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to support the New South Wales Rural Fire Service as it continues to fight bushfires on the east coast of Australia.
The 55-year-old movie star, whose own home in NSW was damaged by recent flames, informed fans on Friday afternoon that $400,000 had been raised by auctioning one of his old South Sydney Rabbitohs rugby league caps.
“So from a random, silly idea; twitter auctioning this slightly used hat ... atleast $400,000 Australian has landed with @NSWRFS today (sic),” the Gladiator actor wrote.
“I also see lots of people have got onboard & given what they can. Thank you.”
Russell then shared another photo of himself handing over an envelope of cheques to NSW Rural Fire Service Captain John Lardner.
“So... delivered 19 cheques to RFS Captain John Lardner, a total of $105k,” he wrote.
The actor had explained earlier he was donating $5,000 each to 20 local fire stations and that Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes would be matching that with another $100,000.
Scott Farquhar, also co-founder of Atlassian, joined in to offer up $100,000 as well, as did Qualtrics CEO Ryan Smith.
On Friday afternoon the NSW Rural Fire Service thanked the actor with a video and Twitter statement reading: “We tip our hat to you, @russellcrowe
“What an amazing and generous show of support for our incredible volunteers!”
Earlier this month the actor’s own home in Nana Glen, 25 kilometres north-west of Coffs Harbour in NSW, was damaged by the bushfires.
Russell flew into Australia after hearing about the fires, and has been sharing updates of the fires near his property.
Australia’s bushfire season has seen people killed and more than 500 homes destroyed since September. Fire authorities have warned there is worse to come.
On Friday NSW Rural Fire Service advised 146 fires were still burning across the state around 12:30pm, with 58 of them not contained.
The Bureau of Meteorology has also warned the country could expect more heatwaves and little rain in the east during the summer, following one of the driest springs ever.
“We’ve already seen significant bushfire activity during spring, and the outlook for drier and warmer than average conditions will maintain that heightened risk over the coming months,” the bureau’s head of long-range forecasts, Andrew Watkins, said in a statement.
On Friday students across the country also walked out of school to join climate strikes and protests demanding stronger action to rein in climate change, which they said is contributing to the country’s bushfire crisis.