Our long brilliant dreadful summers
THERE is perhaps nothing as quintessentially Australian as an Australian summer.
Our hot weather, like other countries’ winters, contributes to our national character.
In the Geelong region where we’re lucky enough to be on a bay, a peninsula and one of the world’s greatest surf coasts, we flock as one to the water to cool down.
Around the nation this week, firefighters and land owners have banded together in an effort to quell the ever present threat of small fires becoming big voracious ones that consume houses and lives.
Yesterday firefighters were trying to contain a bushfire in Buninyong near Ballarat.
Closer to home, in Little River air tankers were dumping water on a fast-moving fire which had scorched more than 1000 hectares of land and threatened homes.
Residents of Cocoroc, Mambourin and Manor were “strongly recommended” by Vic Emergency to evacuate.
Roads were closed and V/Lines stopped in their tracks.
Things can change, and there were troublesome windy conditions expected late last night.
But as of yesterday evening it looked like those masterful firefighting pilots dumping water and fire retardant on the inferno had managed to get the Little River fire under control with minimal damage to structures and potentially only one shed lost.
The brave firefighters, and emergency services workers, on the ground and in the air, deserve our ongoing gratitude for their often gruelling efforts, protecting people, homes and livestock.
The Australian bush has a rugged appeal that’s laced with the recurring danger of floods and fire.
It’s what poet Dorothea Mackellar described as “Her beauty and her terror, The wide brown land for me.”
Bushfires, blowflies and beaches, blackouts and cold beer.
This is the bittersweet nature of our brilliant and dreadful summers.
Little River fire yesterday.