The Pappinbarra community have been in the news this week, as they recall the devastating bush fires in the valley a year ago.
Early this morning, (Tuesday February 13), ABC journalists Michael Cavanagh and Cameron Marshall did an outside broadcast at Hollisdale Hall in the valley, inviting residents and firefighters to reflect on the toughest day anyone can remember.
As people fled the flames that fateful Sunday a year ago, Daphne and Patrick McInherny stayed at their property on Lemon Gum Road to protect it as best they could. Their thermometer reached 55 celsius.
They cleaned the gutters and hosed all around their home, and then filled buckets from the cattle trough.
“It was a very apocalyptic day – it was so hot. As the fires came, it sounded like ten jet engines closing in around us. We were hosing water all around us. After the flames passed, there were bandicoots, wallabies, possums came all around our house, but they didn’t survive.
“I still think how lucky we are. We’re all here. We all survived, and are very fortunate to have a roof over our heads,” she said.
“I can say I’ve been to hell,” said her husband, Patrick.
“There was nothing that wasn’t on fire. The flames were shooting 50 metres and the wind was coming straight at us,” he added.
Mark Hickson spoke about the effect of the fire on his farm.
“The Pappinbarra Progress Association are amazing, and so are the Rural Fire Service. We didn’t lose any buildings or animals, just cattle yards, and eight kilometres of fencing,” he said.
“Out of these natural disasters, a great sense of community often comes to the fore. 50 staff and students from Camden Haven High School helped remove old, burnt-out fences from my property, and planted over a thousand trees one day and I’m very grateful.”
The cause of the Pappinbarra bush fires still hasn’t been established.