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Bushfires: A Note

Like many people here, I’ll be donating the profits from any sales of my work in the following month (and beyond most likely) to the Bushfire Appeals here in Victoria in addition to what I’ve already given.

One work in particular I’ve added especially for this cause with a higher mark up:

I’ve been fortunate enough not to have been effected personally by this kind of tragedy on a couple of occasions. The first of which was the Ash Wednesday fires of 1983. I grew up in the Dandenong Ranges, and if weren’t for a last moment wind change, my family’s house would have been directly in the path of the fires. The second occasion occurred in 1997 when some deliberately lit fires raced through Ferny Creek, razed 40 houses and killed 3 people. My parents were evacuated and fire was stopped in the paddocks across the road from them by water bombers.

As much as we try to be conscious of pain and suffering around the world, it becomes all the more real when it strikes your people and the places you know. Ferny Creek is a place just like those devastated by the fires. There are tea rooms, the CFA, a football club, a scout hall, a church and primary school. Everyone knew each other when I was growing up there, and not because they were friends on Facebook.

I’m not often prone to parochialism, but I love the place I grew up in. I can only imagine how all of the people affected by this must feel now about what they’ve lost, because I’m absolutely certain they loved where they lived.


  • Paul Louis Villani
    Paul Louis Vil...almost 6 years ago

    Well said Chris.
    With Australia pulling together the way it has over the past week, one can’t help but feel a little parochial.
    Peace to you.

  • Cheers Paul, and to you!

    – transmute

  • bellmusker
    bellmuskeralmost 6 years ago

    I agree with you completely, Chris. I’m also from the Dandenongs, and will never forget Ash Wednesday in 1983, my dad being a volunteer firefighter and many of my loved ones in the hills. Likewise, the Ferny Creek fires in 1997 razed several houses in my sister’s street, Seabreeze Avenue, and her horror is not something I’ll forget either.

    It’s a beautiful place to live and with my family now in Sassafras, I’m relieved beyond belief that the fires didn’t hit there. The images of Marysville and Kinglake are catastrophic and heartbreaking, and no matter how long you’ve lived with the typical Australian summer dread of bushfires, you never, never get used to it.

    I’m so glad all your loved ones are safe, Chris.

  • Thanks Belle. I have nothing but admiration for people like your father who risk themselves fighting fires like these. Some of the sadder stories are of firefighters who watched their own homes burn while saving those of others. My father just bought a radio scanner so he can listen in to the emergency services frequencies every time the CFA sirens ring.

    – transmute

  • umauma
    umaumaalmost 6 years ago

    Your gesture is what I would expect from an Australian..Good on ya’ Chris…
    My heart goes out to those that lost so much..but, ’she’ll be right, mate’ comes to mind as a prayer.

  • Thanks Uma. I think in a lot of respects we are the ‘lucky country’ when you see how much people have given for this cause already.

    – transmute

  • WendyJC
    WendyJCalmost 6 years ago

    wonderfully written! originally from the dandenongs i remember the fires and fear well … being in the yarra ranges and a little to close for comfort. safe and pleased to see so many offering donations,profits and gestures.

  • Thanks Wendy. The Ash Wednesday fires seem to pale in comparison to these, and I fear that people still living in these areas will need to radically alter their way of living and thinking.

    – transmute

  • Erin Lyall
    Erin Lyallalmost 6 years ago

    My partner, Jon, often talks about Ash Wednesday. He grew up in Emerald and it was that same wind change that saved them. It’s horrifying to think what could have happened, and what did happen in the most recent disaster.

  • transmute
    transmutealmost 6 years ago

    It makes you think how much of an impact these fires will have on the younger ones, as John must have been fairly young at the time.

  • Di Jenkins
    Di Jenkinsover 5 years ago

    Hi Chris! Out of something so terrible some good has come! It’s been amazing to witness the people of this area coming together and gradually regaining their strength (and their humour). Seemingly ordinary people have done extroardinary things, and the renewal of the earth is spectacular to watch! Just a few short months later, and it’s hard to see the fire’s path in many places. It is heartening. I hope you’ll come to the valley & see for yourself. The best way to help affected areas now is to spend your money here – make sure it goes into the pockets of the survivors. Thanks for posting this – for caring and for doing! CHEERS!