Trapped by bushfires on the NSW south coast

Each month in our newsletter we share a client story. Usually it’s of success or achieving goals or the value of advice. This month it’s a bit different, with the bushfires devastating so much of our country we thought we’d share a personal account written by our client Tim Lee.

After waking up with the sky ‘weird and wrong’ in a Narooma caravan park, Timothy Lee describes an at-times terrifying three-day journey home to Sydney.

On New Year’s Eve morning at 5.30am I was woken by a single thunderclap – the loudest I’ve ever heard – that echoed and rumbled on for minutes. Half asleep, I wondered if there had been a volcanic eruption. At 9am our son came running in to wake us, saying there was something weird and wrong outside. Outside, in our caravan park near Narooma, it was still dark. The sky was low and a strange orange colour. All around us people were leaving, or hosing down their caravans. The power was gone. Ash was falling and the air was thick with smoke. At the campsite reception, where we tried to find out what was going on, we were told fires were closing in; if we left we couldn’t return. If we stayed and were trapped we would need to go to the beach to escape the blaze. 

I called my dad at his new place in Cobargo but he wasn’t answering. I called his partner, Sally, who answered in tears and told me the town was gone,  fire was everywhere, everything was burned. It had swept through about 5.30 – around the time of the thunderclap. My dad had gone out into the flames and disappeared and Sally didn’t know where he was.

Dad came on the phone, croaky and exhausted. He’d saved their house but everything around them had burned. He said at one point there was fire 360 degrees around them. He’d walked into town and stood across the road as he watched Sally’s shop – with all her artwork – burn to the ground, along with his temporary office beside it. All their work was gone. Read more here

Sally is a landscape artist and designer who recently moved to Cobargo. As the fires swept through the town, her small shop, in which she made and sold her works, was destroyed. Every work of art, all her equipment, every means by which she has to make a living is gone. None of it was insured.

So in order to replace the equipment she lost – her high-end camera, her computer in which she touched up some of her works, paints, canvases, high grade paper, brushes, pens, pencils, etc – and to help with the day to day costs of living until she can rebuild her catalogue of works – Tim is asking for any donation you can afford to give and has set up this GoFundMe page to help Sally rebuild and recover from the bushfires.