Quite a dramatic few days

Especially when it comes to weather. I stayed home yesterday. Wollongong at times looked like this — and by the way as I write the sun has just come out!


But Sydney got it worse.

Meanwhile in Queensland!



And dear me, in the weird world of media — specifically The Oz — even more remarkable things have been noted. I can’t help wondering if after all we should revisit that moon landing really being faked in Hollywood or 9/11 being an inside job! I think the Oz has gone quite mad….



1968 and Illawarra burns

I didn’t make it to the Cronulla High Class of 1968 Reunion, though pleased to have been invited. This week WIN local news has been reminding me of something else from 1968:

Screenshot (196)

I recall coming out of Cronulla High an an October afternoon fifty years ago to see the sky south of us one mass of smoke. Now I took this one from my window in West Wollongong just five years ago:

FotoSketcher - PA170263

Always a possibility down here.

…the 50th anniversary of Black Monday when around 30 bushfires ravaged the Illawarra from Coledale to Dapto and experts say it could happen again.

The October 28 fires of 1968 destroyed 31 homes, damaged hundreds more and forced thousands of people to flee as the flames rushed down the escarpment, devouring anything in their path….

… the recent damp has put the area out of “immediate danger” but the ground on the escarpment was not wet and muddy.

“It will be dry again in a few weeks, and then if we get no serious follow up rain, summer will still be looking bad….”

Winter start to bushfire season — again

Seems to be the new normal, doesn’t it? See Sydney’s bushfire season starts in winter: ‘We may have to rethink how we live’. I look on with interest as there is a good chance I may get a ringside seat here in West Wollongong, as I said in 2013.

From my window October 2013:

FotoSketcher - PA170263

Some of yesterday’s outbreaks were not all that far away. See also my posts tagged “bushfire“.

Again from October 2013, from my window:


Among my better photos — 8 — bushfires

Here in NSW and in Victoria fires have very much been in the news this past weekend. The Tathra/Bega fires are about 300 km south of here, but there is a distinctive smokey look in the air even here in Wollongong.

Fires quite often affect our area. Fortunately, the nearest in the time I have been here (since 2010) came close, but not too close. See from 2013 ABC Local Radio says fire now just 6km over the mountain:-


And from my window looking west/southwest:


Not to panic, and things are more serious in the Lithgow/Blue Mountains area. However we are now being asked to watch for embers and the weather forecast is not entirely favourable.

And another post from that time which canvasses climate matters:

Looking out my window at 6pm:


That is looking at Mount Nebo in the foreground, where there are quite a few recently built homes, and beyond that the main escarpment. Behind that the Southern Highlands current fire zone is from 10 to 30 km away. Tomorrow, we are told, is to be “about as bad as it gets”, with temperatures in the high 30s, humidity at 10 per cent and wind gusts of up to 100 kph….

Meanwhile I do commend Trove as a check on our faulty memories!

For example:

27 houses lost in fires near Wollongong [coming soon]The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 – 1995) Tuesday 29 October 1968 p 1 Article Illustrated… Faces masked against smoke, volunteers move to a new fire at Unanderra, south of Wollongong. 27 houses lost in fires near Wollongong SYDNEY, Monday. – Twenty – seven homes lie in ashes tonight after the worst bushfires known in the suburbs of Wollongong. The fires were fanned by 50 mph winds and … 235 words



I remember that one, though I was at this time living in Paddington and commuting to St Ives…

From my window October 2013:

FotoSketcher - PA170263

Random Friday memory 25 – bushfire smell takes me back

Looking from my window yesterday afternoon I saw a taste of months to come:


Presumably that was part of this:

Large number hazard reduction burns planned

Published Date: 14 Aug 2015


Fire agencies and land managers are taking advantage of favourable weather conditions to complete a number of important hazard reduction burns.

NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers said there are more than 60 controlled burns scheduled across the state in the next week.

“Good weather conditions have provided us with a welcome window of opportunity to continue our controlled burning program this week in preparation for the next fire season,” Deputy Commissioner Rogers said.

“There are hazard reduction burns planned in many areas throughout the state, including the Richmond Valley, Clarence Valley, Greater Sydney, Hawkesbury, the Hunter and Blue Mountains.”

“NSW RFS volunteers along with fire fighters from Fire & Rescue NSW, National Parks and Wildlife Service and Forest Corporation NSW are about to embark upon one of the biggest weeks of controlled burning in some time, with in excess of 60 burns being carried out across the state, a dozen of these will be within the Greater Sydney area alone.”…

The air is full of the smell of bushfire smoke this morning. This inevitably triggers many memories. Among my posts here see especially Still on bushfires (October 2013).

Here are two items from Trove that document fires I remember:

article18256020-4-005 Saturday 26 January 1952


Thursday 31 January 1952

Less than two weeks after my sister had died, as it happens. Those “wooded slopes” were very visible from the house in Vermont Street Sutherland where our family were just moving in. And while on the subject of memory and the early 1950s, look at this 2010 post and its thread: Going back 57 years…. It’s quite a remarkable post.