Australian comedian Celeste Barber has raised more than A$19.4 million ($20m) for volunteer firefighters within days.

Barber set up the Facebook fundraiser on Friday and by late that afternoon has received a staggering amount of donations from around Australia and overseas.

By 10.30am Saturday the amount raised – which will go to the NSW Rural Fire Service and Brigades Donations Fund – had raced past $2.5 million.

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An hour later, at 11.30am, it had reached $3.2 million.

At 1:30pm Saturday, the campaign ticked over the $4.5 million mark — and still appears to be rising as quickly as $1000 a second.

The amount smashes the $2 million raised by the City of Sydney and ABC on New Year's Eve for the Red Cross.

Just before 5pm on Saturday the amount ticked over $7 million, by 6.30pm it broke through the $8 million mark and by 10pm was at $12 million and rising.

Just after 10am this morning, it had hit more than $18 million.

Comedian and influencer Celeste Barber. Photo / Supplied.
Comedian and influencer Celeste Barber. Photo / Supplied.

"Want to join me in supporting a good cause?" Barber originally wrote on her Facebook page.

"I'm raising money for The Trustee for NSW Rural Fire Service & Brigades Donations Fund and your contribution will make an impact, whether you donate a lot or a little.

Barber posted updates on Instagram throughout the day showing her surprise and then growing shock at the magnitude of the donations.


"What do you say?" said a clearly emotional Barber this afternoon as the donations surged above $6 million.

Australian actress and comedian Celeste Barber's charity fundraiser has taken off. Photo /
Australian actress and comedian Celeste Barber's charity fundraiser has taken off. Photo /

"Please help anyway you can."


Australian's today received a message of condolence from The Queen, with the Royal Family's twitter account sharing a note from the 93-year-old, expressing her dismay over the dire situation and her gratitude to those battling the fires on the front-lines.

"I have been deeply saddened to hear of the continued bushfires and their devastating impact across Australia," The Queen wrote on a note printed on Buckingham Palace stationary.

"My thanks go out to the emergency services, and those who put their own lives in danger to help communities in need.

"Prince Philip and I send our thoughts and prayers to all Australians at this difficult time."

Kate Middleton and Prince William echoed The Queen's sentiments, sending their own heartfelt message through The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's official Kensington Palace Twitter account.

"We continue to be shocked and deeply saddened to hear about the wild fires that are destroying homes, livelihoods and wildlife across much of Australia," the couple wrote.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with all the people and communities who are affected by this devastating event.

"We send our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who have tragically lost their lives, and the brave firemen who continue to risk their own lives to save the lives of others."


The Queen's note comes after Barber yesterday shared "terrifying" pictures of her mother-in-law's home in Eden on the south coast of NSW along with a picture of husband Api Robin, concern etched on his face, as he awaited news from his mother.

"They are facing catastrophic conditions. The town has been left to fend for itself."

Barber included an open letter to local member Andrew Constance pleading for more government support for the community, saying people were terrified about what was to come.

Barber shared her appreciation this morning after the unprecedented outpouring of donations.

Celeste Barber shared
Celeste Barber shared "terrifying" photos from her mother-in-law's house. Photo / Facebook.

"This is out of control! You are all out of control," she wrote.

"My love and appreciation for you all is out of control.

"Unfortunately today the fires are due to get even more out of control."

Donate to Celeste Barber's bushfire appeal.

Regional Manager of GoFundMe Australia, Nicola Britton, told today that the reaction to Barber's fundraising campaign was part of a wider outpouring of generosity from everyday Aussies.

"At GoFundMe since November alone we've seen $8 million raised by 125,000 donors, and that's across about 5000 different funds, just for bushfires. It's definitely part of a bigger trend of people tapping into their social networks to share and donate," said Britton.

"We're seeing people try to turn their emotions from compassion to anger to action, actively seeking out funds to donate to. On GoFundMe, we had a record day of donations yesterday, which was unprecedented – we're certainly ramping up as people see the scale of the disaster. Since New Year's Eve alone we've seen $1.7 million raised across about 500 different GoFundMe pages."

While Barber's Facebook fundraiser acts as a central fund, Britton said GoFundMe often catered to smaller, niche campaigns within the wider bushfire crisis — like that for Bateman's Bay residents Sue and Mick, who lost their home in the fires.

"As we've seen this huge increase in bushfire donations over the last six to eight weeks, we're really tapping into unique donor networks. We've seen everything from gaming communities to the Australian Tesla owners group to Brazilian and Nepalese migrant communities. We're seeing these very niche communities tapping into their own networks to raise funds," she said.

And Britton said that, while the scale of donations was as unprecedented as the crisis many Australians face, the country has form in this area.

"At the end of last year we released a giving report, and Australia actually came out as the third-most generous country. It's certainly an Australian trait to back a mate at a time of need."