A snippet about Beechworth

Remember my recent posts about Beechworth and the fires, and the problems with the tourism dropping there? Well, here’s a small update for you.

We have a new gourmet cheese shop just opened, lovely lady called Natasha Davis has opened ‘The Larder’ in Camp St, opposite the bakery. She was the guest speaker at the Beechworth BPW meeting last night and everyone enjoyed a beautiful selection of French and Italian cheeses with lots of interesting history. Natasha will shortly be expanding into pastries and coffee.

It’s over, it’s over!

I have to share with you an email I received from a client friend of mine who lives in one of the areas close to the bushfires. Louise has given me permission to print this and I just wanted to show you what this lady has been through and somehow she has been able to maintain her sense of humour through this.  The email shows relief, amongst other things.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Hooray! It’s over, it’s over!!!!

Thank you everyone for your concern and help during the fire period.

By yesterday, it was only fair to say that I had lost my sense of humour. Since Black Saturday when it appeared we were surrounded by fire and showered with burnt leaves and bark here at Yarra Junction, it has been nearly 4 weeks since we were officially ‘put on alert’ and told it was not a matter of ‘if’, but ‘when’ the fire came over Donna Buang and ‘got us’.

The rain last night that continues today means we can stop hosing, mowing, whipper-snippering and raking the drive. We can take the diesel pump off the pool and put it back on the river. The hoses can go back in the shed and the sprinklers can come off the paddocks. We can turn off radio 774 and get the ‘stuff’ out of the cellar. The plan (unknown to Hermann) to move James (horse) into the house can be shelved and Robin can return to her house at East Warburton, along with the two other families whose company we have shared on high risk days.

All in all, we have come out of it pretty well. My horse, James, is in the stable for three months after tearing his suspensory ligament playing ‘leader of the pack’ in all the excitement and I have an alcohol dependence for sleep, waking in the night staring at far away mountains expecting the Zulus to appear at any minute.

This too shall pass.

Love Louise

jvm1000PS  The attached photo shows the exit at Chateau Yering/Yering Station where Hermann and I got married. It burnt
to their front door.

Butt or Bug?

The latest fire has hit quite close to home for us.  Graham and I were only at Birdsland Reserve in Belgrave on 14th February and you can see some of my photos at my photoblog.  Today there is a fire tearing its way through the park and heading towards houses that we had only been looking at a month or two prior.

The fire started at the edge of one road (Nixon Road) and then headed north as it was fanned by the strong winds and heat of the day.  It also has burnt some of Lysterfield Park – the very place my husband and his mate ride every weekend and where I was taking photos just yesterday.  The fire is further up the hill from where we were.

I can’t understand this.  There was no thunder and lightening and unless there were problems with a powerline there, that pretty much leaves it to two possible things:

1.  Someone threw a cigarette butt out of their car window – something I’ve seen happen so many times in the past, or

2.  Someone deliberately lit the fire.

Either way it was a deliberate act and I can’t help feeling that the person in number 1 above is just as liable for the damage and terror as the person in number 2 above.  And the person in number 1 could have driven on their way merrily totally oblivious to what they have done.

cigartettebuttI don’t like the fact that smokers litter places anywhere – you just have to walk around cities and suburbs and see cigarette butts where smokers congregate. There aren’t always ashtrays or sandboxes available and it seems to me that many just seem oblivious to their actions. But to throw a live butt out of a car window as they drive along is totally irresponsible and I expect they’ll be eligible for a jail sentence if ever anyone was seen to do that immediately before a fire was started.

Tonight the wind is blowing strongly and I remember back to the year we first shifted to Melbourne.  It seemed to rain all year long in 1992 and we wondered what on earth we had done, shifting to such a wet city!  How I wish it were like that again, this drought has gone on for far too long and our beautiful state is really suffering.

Don’t let Bushfires stop tourism in Victoria

I got this message from one of my Virtual Assistants who lives and works in Beechworth. Whilst there have been fires very close by and they have been on alert, she wants to spread the word that they haven’t been wiped out and still depend very much on the tourism that helps their area to survive.  The following is in her words:

We are above the smoke haze here in Beechworth and it’s the most beautiful clear day with a light wind. Quite surreal…. except for the occasional fire plane surveying the countryside.

One thing that is impacting on Beechworth and Yackandandah is that people are staying away, even cancelling accommodation as far ahead as June. It’s been very immediate, and understandable.

Because the fire started at Beechworth and it’s being called the Beechworth Fire, people believe that we have been destroyed too which is certainly not the case. All our traders and accommodation houses are now extremely worried about how to get people back to our beautiful towns. Our local councils and Tourism Vic have started to deal with what looks like having a huge impact on the North East.

While being respectful of those that have lost everything, the flow on effect of no tourists in a tourism town can be extreme and affect every member of our community, as businesses and shops close. This is our major industry and it’s very much like when a large manufacturing plant or similar closes in a small town.

So please spread the word that Beechworth is safe and we would love to have you come and visit.

If you’re one of those who have booked accomodation in these areas please don’t cancel it, especially if it’s going to be in the cooler weather. Why not contact the Beechworth Visitor’s Centre and check with them?  And if you’re looking for a place to visit for a day or a weekend, then Beechworth and surrounding areas certainly have a lot to offer!

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Orange glow in the sky

It’s 6.39pm and I went outside to see what the bright glow was coming through my office window. There had been news reports earlier in the day not to panic, that burning off is happening in the hills to help protect areas around Melbourne from the bush fires but that Melbourne would be shrouded by smoke.

It’s really eery out there. I’ve taken some photos to give you an idea of the contrast of colour from the orange cloud and sun shining on the garden at a time when the sun is getting low.

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Bushfires bring out the good and the bad

The news was first filled with the horror of it all but now the sick news stories are coming out. Those who are bogus charities collecting funds, a 15 year old boy who has been arrested for starting one smaller fire on the weekend, people looting the burned homes before the owners have been allowed to go back to them. The stories continue.

What is wrong with people these days? Don’t they have a conscious? Do they not care about others? It would seem not.

Thank goodness I listed to a radio station that is intent on giving good news every single hour of every single day it broadcasts. Radio LightFM 89.9FM (it does stream so if you’re not in Melbourne you can tune in, online) has been sharing the stories of the good things that have been happening. Those who have freely given of their time and resources with no expectation of anything in return, no pay. People ringing to tell their stories of faith and hardship, of help coming from unexpected quarters. Of reunions, of love, of sadness. All sorts of things. And the extraordinary amount of $$ that have been donated so far – millions! Good to hear Peter Hitchener from Channel 9 on there regularly too. He’s become a regular on the radio station talking to Luke and Susie (and now Lucy too) on the morning breakfast show.

Please excuse the long post but there is much to share here. I get regular emails about support happening via our church and other groups and want to share some of that here also.

From Transforming Melbourne:

What you can do:

Link: How Can I Help? (and Where Can I get Help?) www.abc.net.au/melbourne

Today we’ve heard that:

  • One group of 40 young people are cooking for the fireys
  • Two leaders are massaging firecrew – That’s being the hands of Christ!
  • At least one church, Diamond Valley Baptist Church, has opened its doors to co-ordinate volunteers & deliveries of food, clothing and any other useful items.
  • At least one church, Bayside, is setting up a scheme to provide ongoing support to families who have lost their homes.

Share your initiatives at: www.transformingmelbourne.blogspot.com/

Donations This morning Victoria Police and the Red Cross have requested that people wanting to donate not use any numbers listed for emergency use only.

  • Red Cross State Government Victorian Bushfire Appeal Visit www.redcross.org.au Phone 1800 811 700
    Go to any NAB, ANZ, Westpac or Commonwealth Bank branch, Bunnings
  • Victorian Bushfire Relief Fund
    Make a direct deposit to the BSB 082-001, Account number 860-046-797
  • Myer Bushfire Appeal proceeds to the Salvation Army.

Messages of Encouragement:

Leave your message of support to the fire crews here

Message board: Make contact with loved ones here

From my church:

Bayside Church is operating as a receiving centre for aid that will be sent to Victory Church, Bendigo for distribution to those in need in the Bendigo community. The following items are needed:

– Food (non perishable items only)

– Toiletries

– Clothes (new or nearly new)

Undergarments (new only)

– Toys

– Baby Products (Nappies, wipes, formula, clothing)

– School supplies

– Household items (linen, cutlery, crockery, towels, etc – not furniture)


Vouchers

Vouchers will also be received on behalf of the relief effort and preferred retailers are:

Coles Myer (including Kmart, Target, etc) and Bunnings

Vouchers need to be handed in at reception, Bayside Church, Argus Street, Cheltenham, clearly marked “Bushfire Relief”.