Monday, December 21, 2009

Beginning of the end of the blog

Well, this will be the second last post. Llew will also do one soon. It has been a wonderful time in our lives to do this blog. Going to the States was great and I hope everyone enjoyed reading about it here. Then moving to Rockhampton was a big change and had its good parts and challenges. But now it is all over. Llew and I are separating.

We have had a wonderful marriage for the last 6 1/2 years and 2 years before that together, and for everything we had, everyone we met, and all the experiences we had together, I am so thankful. I am so sad that it is ending. It really is tearing me apart, but I know it is for the best. It was a mutual decision, we were holding each other back and both of us felt trapped in different ways.

Now we get to look forward to the future. New things, hopefully good things, and moving ahead. Honestly, at the moment, I'm not sure how I am going to do it, but as I keep getting told, one day at a time. I am so thankful for all of my friends and family for being so supportive and understanding. Please bear with me while I regain my headspace and go through this process.

End of an era, but really only good things to look back on. This blog helps to look back on very many of the good things. Time for new good things, and you never know, perhaps another blog? Probably not. That too, was good while it lasted. You can find me on facebook. That's the next thing.

Gemma Mann.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Rockhampton Fires

On Tuesday October 13 the fires at Nerimbera started to spread towards town. As part of the SES I helped clear a fire break up in a creak north of Nerimbera. However, it didn't stop the fires. On Friday October 16 the fires started to come over the hills. Saturday 17th, at 3:30am I got the call that we had to go and start doorknocking houses withe the SES to advice potential evactuation. I got to HQ and the first thing they said was that Forbes Ave was the priority. That changed by 6am when we started knocking to Hinds St at Lakes Creek. After that area, we then did Forbes Ave, Woodland Dve, Magnolia Crs, and Archerview Estate. It was really strange doorknocking my own house.

Meanwhile, Saturday morning, Dad took some photos from around our house and street.
The house in the foreground is 3 doors up from us.

From our backyard.

This is the bottom of our backyard. Remember that post with the flag on it.

The notice to "prepare for relocation if required" that I delivered to many houses including ours.

At about 5pm we decided to leave after it went from a "be prepared" to "advised to relocate if your path is clear". We left a sign on the front door, and took one last look as the flames came over the hill.

Our neighbours stayed and these photos are thanks to them. That's our house on the left. They have a vacant lot at the moment with just a shed.

They started backburning 3 doors down from us. They had more long grass etc up closer to their house than we did.

Then the backburn went along to our neighbour's lot.

Then from their lot looking over into the back of our yard.

Remember that post and flag? This is our backyard with fire right up to it.

The fire fighters used the neighbour's hose and our hose, just to wet down the grass. They were really worried about our short, dry grass that would completely burn to the house in a couple of seconds. They managed to keep it wet and keep the fire at bay, though.

In this photo you can see the backburn in the front and the main fire line in the back. This was what they were trying to meet.

Still going. Conversation in our yard as the fire moved one house up. The next house after that had trees and grass right up to their house, but it still didn't burn down.

Our yard.

Then Sunday morning, the main fire came to the end of the street. Four houses up from us was where it met the backbrun and the firies had to work really hard to stop it coming up to houses.

They even had the crop duster plane to water bombing right there as seen in this picture taken from our footpath.

Later that day, from down the valley you can just see our house in the middle. All of in front had been burned out.

Once again there is that post and flag. Now there is nothing behind it.

On Monday we returned home. Neighbour on the left and our yard. The entire hill out from this was burnt.

During Monday, it came down behind houses on the next ridge and kept the firies busy.

Monday night, up the hill there were so many spot fires where trees were still burning through, but they didn't flare up into anything big again. For the next week we have heard trees fall over the hill and down the valley. Dozens Monday to a few by the end of the week.

We are very glad it is all over. When we left and took our bare minimum posetions and Peanuts and went down to Yeppoon, we were not sure that we'd come back to a house. Good warning for everyone. In the end, the fire burnt 11,500 hectares and threatened hundreds of homes. Out of it all, only one was lost. Big congratulations and thanks to all the fire fighters, both urban and rural, both local and from afar.

More photos can be found at: