Results tagged “Bushfires” from Kazza the Blank One
A week after the 1994 Como bushfires, twenty three years ago today, we held an open air service in the grounds of the church. The media were in attendance and the back of my head and my hair was on the evening news.
After the service, Dad and some others knocked over some unsafe walls that were in danger of toppling. Note that some of the photos of the cleanup in my last post were taken after this.
The Macaulays could still smile after having lost their home, can you believe it?
This is Dad holding two of the lecterns saved by the firies. The firies also saved part of the baptismal register (but my page had fallen out and was missing), and the photocopier. They continued to use the photocopier for several years, and the lectern on the right is still in use in the rebuilt church.
The day after the bushfires burnt through Como, Sunday twenty three years ago today, we went up to inspect the damage.
Looking towards the front of the church.
This is standing at the top of the hill next to the church. On the left is the front of the church, straight ahead is the manse, and the kindergarten playground is on the right behind the fence. Just next to where dad is walking, in the little alcove in front of the window, some of the hymn books had fallen down, but hadn't been completely burnt. Some of them had just had their edges burnt. I looked through one and found the page where two hymns I knew were - 205 and 206 - The Church's One Foundation and Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken. I've kept this page in a frame ever since.
This is taken where the entrance of the church was, looking into the building
A couple of more distant shots of the property
This is taken from inside the church. Standing where the kindergarten hall used to be, facing north towards the church entrance (above) and the kitchen (straight ahead left). At about this spot, I found where the marble baptismal font had crashed through the floor to the ground below. It had smashed into pieces so I found a chunk of it that had the curved dish of the font, and I've kept it on a shelf ever since.
Next to the church was the manse. The Macaulay's were out of the house for the day and when it started to burn dad begged the firies to let him in to try and rescue Andrew's computer, but they wouldn't let him so they lost *everything*. Oddly though, one of Ruth's little plastic kiddie chairs was in the carport, and it survived unscathed. This is looking across the fence between the church and the manse yard (that fence didn't burn either) across to the Chaseling's and past that to where Pauline O'Neil died.
This is looking in from the front to the lounge/family/kitchen of the manse.
Next door to the manse was the Chaseling's. They were out for the day as well, so lost everything. Catherine lost her super cute little poofy chickens which she was pretty devastated about.
Then we headed across to Woronora Crescent to see Chrissie's family's house. We'd been to visit them the Friday night before the fires. It was really hot that night and at one point poor little Red Car was overheating. We got to Chrissie's and we could see across to Bangor and all the orange from the fires over there (in Bangor, Tanya Blencowe, who helped Sydney secure the rights to host the 2000 Olympics, lost part of her home and most of the memorabilia she had collected). They evacuated in stages on the Saturday, with Chrissie's dad being the last to leave. But they really didn't get to save much. I remember some really odd things that they lost, including a big roll of 1966 50c coins, some cool Magic Eye books, and a cute little tape deck that I'd given to Chris after I got one with a cd player in it for my 18th birthday. They had some corningware that actually survived intact (I think it was them). I also remember wondering at how little *black* there was around. The fire was so intense that not even soon was left behind.
This is looking west down to the front of Chrissie's house. The fire jumped the Woronora River and raced up the hill, taking out eighty-seven houses in the space of an hour or two. Bonnet Bay is directly opposite, but was spared.
This is from the bottom of their yard looking up the hill towards the back of the house (on the right).
Chrissie outside her house. Bushfires are incredibly fickle things. Note the plastic swing seats. The ones on the right are completely unharmed.
Elva Lennon's house on the left (next door neighbour's to Chris), and looking north along Woronora Crescent. She wasn't insured, but the RSL helped her rebuild.
The next day on the Monday mum also got these photos.
This was Jean and Allan Wilson's house. They'd had a frozen chicken in the freezer and found it cooked perfectly after the fires.
This was Como West Public School. Most of the school burnt down, but the library didn't.
January 8. Always a day I think about three things..
1.. David Bowie's birthday. Still sad he's not with us anymore..
2.. The 1994 Como bushfires..
3.. My blogiversary.. fourteen years old today!
Here's a couple of photos I scanned a couple of months ago. It's dad in front of our church as it was burning down in 1994, taken by one of the firies (about the only unit that actually made it to the scene - most were out at Bangor and weren't able to get back across the old Woronora bridge due to congestion). This photo appeared in the local newspaper in the week after the fires.
Another from the series..
So today is my twelfth blogiversary.
Other than that, happy birthday David Bowie and Elvis.
And here's to another twelve years and then some of blogging ... while we remember the bushfires in Como of January 1994
We were scanning more photos of Dad tonight and came across this photo of him taken outside our church as it burnt down on January 8, 1994. I believe this photo appeared in the Leader in 1994. Well last week the same photo appeared in the Leader again for the twentieth anniversary of the fires.
Went to Sydney again on Sunday. Went over to the home, and took dad out. We went up to the local shops and bought him hot chips and a milkshake. He liked them a lot, and liked the chance to get out of the home. Still didn't stop him ranting about stuff like the other home residents and politicians. Sigh.
During the week Mum and I tackled the work shop - clearing the foor and chairs and some of the work bench. We're starting to see a difference in there. We also threw out a *lot* of 3 1/2" disks. Legitimate copies of things like dos, windows, office etc. But so old *noone* would ever want them. So they all got turfed.
The drive up was pretty eerie - sections of the Hume Highway had bushfire damage either side and there was very heavy smoke around. But got to Sydney ok. Had no troubles getting home last night, as the major fires are up in the Blue Mountains and the southern ones were nowhere near where I needed to go. The skies on Sunday and Monday were full of smoke and very eerie.
Sunrise on Monday morning:
Saturday, 18 January 2003 dawned as a hot, windy and dry day. Temperatures as high as 40 °C (104 °F) and winds exceeding 60 kilometres (37 miles) were the main weather features of the day. Two fires continued to burn out of control in the Namadgi National Park, with the entire park, along with the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve being closed due to the threat. A second fire in the Brindabella Ranges was threatening to break containment lines.
By 9am on the morning of Saturday 18, burned leaves appeared on lawns in houses in the Weston Creek, Kambah and Tuggeranong suburbs bordering the western extremity of Canberra.
Throughout the day, the fires burned closer to the fringes of Canberra's suburbs, and there was no sign of authorities gaining control of the situation. By mid-afternoon, it had become apparent that the fires posed an immediate threat to the settlements near Canberra such as Uriarra and Stromlo as well as houses on the city's urban bushland interface. A state of emergency was declared at 2.45pm by the ACT's Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope.
The fires reached the urban area at 3pm.
By 3.50pm houses were alight in the suburbs of Duffy and Chapman, with the loss of a home in Holder soon after.
Due to fire damage to infrastructure and extreme winds bringing down powerlines across the area, large parts of the city lost power. Fires also started in Giralang because of powerline problems. Evacuation centres were set up at four schools - Canberra College, Ginninderra College, Erindale College and Narrabundah College. A dark cloud hung over the city, and though it was not in danger, Parliament House was closed.
By 5pm, houses were reported destroyed in Duffy, Chapman, Kambah, Holder and Rivett, as well as houses in the small forestry settlement of Uriarra. It was later found that the first casualty of the fires, an elderly woman named Dorothy McGrath, died at the nearby Stromlo Forestry Settlement. Escape for residents was hampered by poor warning and the location of the settlement in the pine forest. Fires spread through the Kambah Pool area and into the suburb of Kambah causing damage to many homes and one of the ACT's primary Urban and Rural fire stations.
Fire spread through parkland, crossing the Tuggeranong Parkway, Athllon Drive and finally engulfing Mount Taylor. Within an hour, houses were also burning in Torrens on the slopes of Mount Taylor and Weston. The fires by now had inflicted severe damage to the city's infrastructure. Power supplies were cut to several suburbs. These outages affected the Emergency Services Bureau's own headquarters in Curtin and the Canberra Hospital (running on back-up generators) which was under intense pressure from people suffering burns and smoke inhalation. In Curtin, the ESA headquarters was in danger from the fires. Water, gas and landline communications was unavailable to several suburbs due to damage to supply lines and city reservoirs. Mobile telecommunications were severally affected due to increased traffic, causing serious disruption to mobile phone networks and the ESA's own radio and dispatch networks.
By 10pm, one of the four evacuation centres in Canberra was completely full, and others were filling up quickly. Reports of looting also began to arrive from the damaged areas. While the very worst of the fires had passed, the situation was still far from stable, and going into Sunday 19 January, houses were still ablaze across numerous suburbs.
I was still living in Sydney in 2003. When this blog was a baby, I did comment on it.
For me, I was only affected by the things that were gone, things like Mt Stromlo observatory, and the pine forests (I still miss those!).
For Stu, his sister Annie was down at the coast for the day with husband Stu and baby Noah. They returned to Canberra in the afternoon to see smoke over the city. The only news reports they were hearing were to "return to their homes". But given they lived in Duffy they thought better of it and took Noah to Scott's. Stu was able to get back to their house. They lost their garage, but luckily for them a neighbour was at home and stayed to defend their house and saved it. Canberra was never the same for them after that, and they moved out to Yass for several years.
For my Canberra readers (most of you lurkers), I'd love to hear your stories. Where were you that day? How did it affect you?
So Emergency Services are predicting a firestorm tomorrow. Which is particularly ominous considering that it was on January 8 in 1994 that bushfires hit my suburb in Sydney.
So even though we're not living in an area considered to be any sort of risk, there was the whole "reserve across the road going up in flames" over Christmas thing, which has made me all the more paranoid.
I didn't blog anything particular for this year's blogiversary, which also happened to be the fifteenth anniversary of the January 1994 bushfires that ripped through Como/Jannali. Those fires were closer to home (literally - about 300m away) and destroyed our church and several of our friend's houses, therefore having a massive impact on me to this day whenever I see bushfire images.
But only one person died there that day.
The weekend bushfires in Victoria were epic sad. 135 lives lost so far. And that's sure to rise.
Kinda puts my crap day at work into perspective...