I feel uncomfortably numb, this is a summer like no other. 2020 has brought a challenging and unfortunately devastating start to the year for many in Australia. It would be impossible to begin my first post of the year without acknowledging the difficulties that many Australians have faced in the past weeks and months with the ongoing bush fires.
Our family’s annual pilgrimage, to my mother’s farm at Bermagui on the far south coast was harshly interrupted early on new year’s morning when we were evacuated from the incoming Cobargo fire. It was a tense night spent with friends in town, their home of two accommodated an extra 5 that night and the country club served over 800 meals to displaced people.
The farm was fire ready with a sprinkler soaking the house and surrounds and a pool full of water – my mum’s partner staying to defend. Driving in the following morning was scary and eerie, not knowing what we would find. Luck came in the night when the wind changed direction and the fire turned on itself before reaching the forests that surround us. Sadly the nearby village of Cobargo was the hardest hit.
Since then we’ve tried to maintain a sense of normalcy in Byron, but one eye has been kept firmly on the Fires Near Me app and yesterday the threat reappeared. A fire suddenly swept through the forest that surrounded the farm and house – again with the sprinkler system running, the help of incredible local firies and neighbours my mum and her partner were able to defend and save the house. Albeit damaged and nerves frayed.
As I write this there are choppers flying over the house, filling up in the river to keep the fires at bay. Somehow my mum manages to keep her spirits up despite the on going threat. The bravery of volunteer firefighters, the diligence of the Bega Valley Council and the community response has been incredible. I know for many it feels that this summer we have been robbed of those intangible lazy days of January.
That the coast is no longer a place of refuge from busy working lives but a place to escape from. Even if not directly affected, many friends have felt that the images of burning farms, animals and homes, and the never-ending smoke has intruded the rhythm of summer life. If you are in a position to donate/volunteer, please see below for some great organizations who are doing amazing work on the far south coast.
For us, January is normally a time to regroup and recharge. To make plans for the new year. Not only have the fires been devastating but they have thrown our plans for 2020 a little out of kilter. To this end we are attempting to stay on track and pick up where we left off last year … rebuilding our website is still underway and an upcoming Still Life/Interiors workshop will be a much needed distraction in February. Stay in touch via Insta and FB.
Thank you so much for your patience, as I write this we are heading south to Bermagui – it is a long way from over.
PS. A big shout out to Virgin who made changing tickets so easy due to Bushfire Support 🙏
Bega Shire Valley is doing an amazing job of keeping residents informed via there website and FB. For all donations and offers of support click here
Cobargo Community Bushire Fund Relief
Cobargo District Emergency Hay Fund
Many of the area’s farmers have lost nearly everything and still need to feed the livestock they have left. This fund is to donate hay, chaff pallets and more. Bendigo Bank started the fund with $10,000, but further donations would be a huge help to the community.
World Central Kitchen operating out of > Eastwoods Deli who are making upto 900 meals a day feeding people from Mogo to Quaama ! #amazing