A thank you note
My husband and I were parked outside your house in our caravan on the second of January. We want to send out a big thank you to you and all the other people in Milton who opened up your homes and your hearts to all the stranded travellers. I for one will never forget your kindness and hospitality. I hope you are all safe.
Valerie and Ron Myers
The Currowan poem
Out in the bush on the slopes at Currowan
The Budawang Range where it all began
The fire that raged from the hills to the sea
Started by lightning none could forsee
A spot in a forest so dense and so dry
it jumped into life determined to try
To consume every thing living or dead
The Currowan fire a model of dread
Jumped the Clyde escaped the back burn
Raced down to Bawley, Kioloa in churn
The northern flank, over the Boyne
Down to the coast Tabourie Lake groyne
Pushed away south and up to the north
Rambled around then New Years Eve stark
Little Forest Yatte Yattah Conjola Park
Batemans Bay South Malua Bay Rosedale
The forests sombre and black no longer pale
All living things consumed or scorched
A monster a beast a devil all torched
Houses laid waste no longer a home
The Currowan fire determined to roam
Regardless of human desire or conceit
The Currowan fire so hard to defeat
Thousands of people caught in its claw
The Firies struggle kept fire from the door
Of many, not all and some tragically died
Collective terror the dread that conspired
To ravage the coast is now on the wane
Never forget it will all come again.
Rod Hayes, Termeil
Thank you all
I am writing this letter as a tribute to the people of the South Coast.
My late wife and myself have a great love of that area. We originally lived in Sydney and spent many great family holidays at Tuross Head.
We first went there in the early 70s. Our son spent many weekends there surfing with his mates. Then he meet a local girl one Easter. They raised their family and we now have a grandson. In 2002 my wife and I moved to the Gold Coast. Over the past few years, I have spent the festive season with the family at Tuross.
I fly to Sydney, then train to Bomaderry and coach to Tuross. I arrived at Bomaderry on December 21 and transferred to coach. Only travelled 1/2 hour south of Nowra to find highway closed. Waited back at South Nowra for three hours. Driver told us the road would remain closed and there was no accommodation in Nowra. Returned to Sydney where I knew that I had a bed.
Tried again next day and got through OK. Enjoyed Xmas and New Year, but it just did not seem like the festive season. Turned on the TV on January 2 and the news said "Tourists leave now".
I told family I would leave. I told them I would go to highway and hitch a ride. I was picked up by six different drivers. Some trips were only a few kilometres, others much longer. First day could only get as far as Milton. Highway was due to reopen late afternoon but later they decided to keep it closed overnight.
Shortly after the decision was made, a local lady whose house we were parked outside, offered me food and a bed for the night. Next morning I walked to the highway and a couple stopped and took me to Sydney. I am a 81-year-old pensioner.
I say thank you to the wonderful, kind, caring and generous people who made it possible to do what I did.
There are so many local people to thank, including the drivers who picked me up, the volunteers at Batemans Bay Evacuation Centre, the lady and her husband at Milton who gave me food and a bed, the RFS volunteers.