I guess there have very few people who have not been in some way impacted by the fires over the last couple of months. As a family we have waited anxiously for news of our daughter Ellie camping and then being evacuated from her campsite on the south coast. Very little phone reception, long waits between calls and finally a long, extended drive home via Cooma and Canberra. Home safe!
But I have been mostly affected by the scenes of Cobargo. For many years in late February we have travelled to the far south coast to attend the Cobargo Folk Festival. Setting up a stall, we would sell handmade guitars and become part of the community for a few days. Camping on the show ground surrounded by stunning mountains and sunsets, enjoying folk music from Australia and beyond.
Most mornings before the stall opened, Cathy and I would walk to town to visit the local businesses, buying jams and cakes from the sidewalk stalls. Listening to buskers and buying freshly baked bread from the bakery. I had regularly pointed out a two story timber shop and residence for sale. Well over 100 years old, the ramshackle building looked as though it was on a slight lean! "We could buy that and move down here. I could teach guitar, make guitars and we could live upstairs", I would say. Cathy would just keep walking!
Anyway, the building is gone. Flattened, as were many buildings, as the fire tore its way across the main street that night. Buildings that had stood for most of last century reduced to a pile of twisted corrugated iron. The folk festival has been postponed. Too many of the local volunteers who help out have had their lives disrupted. Some forever.
But such is the character and spirit of these people, the festival is not cancelled, just postponed to a later date. I quote, "Our little community needs time to regroup and to direct our energies to recovery and reconstruction."
The music will continue...