Six years on from the Mount Victoria bush-fire.

Basically, those that hadn’t left you know, prior to the fire getting there just had to run for their lives. The fire front came through incredibly quickly. The winds were horrific, they were up, you know, over 100 kilometers an hour. There was so much smoke, you couldn’t see what was going on, you had no idea where the fire was. It was a large branch fell across power lines, push the power lines into the leaf litter and there was a fire you know, not much bigger than a bucket when I first saw it and that expanded so quickly. It was unbelievable. It happened so fast, because the fire went down and into the valley behind us, once it started up the hill behind us, it just went like a rocket. It just wants to go faster, faster, faster. So there was nothing you could do. Simon’s house was a wall of flame. Swept through his house, you know, just burst into flames. There’s probably almost nothing he could have done to save his house. But that’s very different to what we experienced. Eventually, a fire sort of jumped across the road so far into the bush that they just couldn’t contain it. I found that, my mother in law was still in the house went out again. And, it seemed that the garage beside the house was starting to burn. So I grabbed her and we just ran. Went to get in my van and found that was a fire truck parked in front of it. So I couldn’t drive out. My wife’s car was still parked in the driveway. And the keys were in it. I backed out onto the road, front of the car was on fire. And drove up the road. And I stopped in front of a fire truck popped the bonnet and said can you put this out please? And then I went back to find out where my wife was because I had no idea. And it was about half an hour later that I found out that she was had been in the fire truck. They had driven out, we met up then. All these houses from that one. The one that’s the other side over there 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 houses. You know, they all had fire right around them. This is a house that belonged to a good friend called Josephine. She’d actually sold the house before the fire. And she was, she was down in the city working and he was up here with three kids. As the fire approached, he just hopped in his car and drove away, never came back. In almost all the cases of the people that lost their houses in this street, they all ended up leaving, none of them rebuilt. The main thing that we lost was just good friends leaving, the street and leaving, you know, basically leaving your life. It is an amazing change when it happens that quickly. Like half the population of the street, at least just went after that. You know one hour of fire basically. Like they’re so many things that are just memories. But somehow I didn’t really mourn the loss of all my possessions. Because there was absolutely nothing left. There was nothing at all. I never went back to Mount Victoria to live. There were no fences, there was no trees, gone. Everything was, no buildings. And I decided that I prefer to set up in Blackheath, rather than go back to Mount Victoria. There’s bushfires like there never has been before and they almost certainly going to increase to way worse that they are now. I think having, decent insurance is important. It certainly after the event, it takes away a huge amount of stress. And maybe that’s something that really helped. There’s been new people moving into the street, which is great. You know, young people that are building houses and they’ve probably got a whole different reality to what I have about what the street is, and that’s fine. It’s good. Life goes on.

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