[permaculture] Family in Bendigo O.K?

Darren Doherty darren at permaculture.biz
Sun Feb 8 13:58:27 EST 2009


Great to hear from people and their concerns from around the world: the bush
telegraph has never had this reach! We are however in New Zealand/Aotearoa
doing a benefit PDC at the wonderful Rainbow Valley Farm....

Isaebella is at home and is safe and has enacted a plan at both our place
and at her Grandma's (Pearl snr) based on her own discussions over the years
with myself and from the PDC she graduated from at Quail Springs in
California in 2007 where her pyrocentric father rammed a bit of the good
news home...her boyfriend's house on Jackass Flat was feet from succumbing
apparently, otherwise I am not quite up with other relative's and friends in
the Eaglehawk area where their were quite a few fires and many houses were
lost...knowing where they life and imagining the potential they could well
have lost their properties and it would be only luck that would save them...

Our properties are inner city in a 1950's subdivision where exotics reign:
it is the new sprawl (ie. into and on Box/Ironbark forest edge) suburbs that
are the problem along with the eucalypt-ridden 60-80's subdivisions which
are at the greatest risk. Also are the old peri-urban areas out at
Eaglehawk, Long Gully, California Gully, Spring Gully, White Hills,
Strathfieldsaye, Maiden Gully etc that fringe new National Parks and where
old miners cottages in various state's of repair are vulnerable and where
many houses and apparently at least one life has been lost.

Water supply is also an issue as stores are very low though the founding
father's designed a system that is not reliant on electricity for pressure
but rather on gravity which is a good thing though it was designed for 50
000 people not 100 000 people hence the superpipe dipping into the
GoulburnRiver system to keep the dream of Bendigo (ie. 'Progress'!)
alive....this is
in spite of the city being ringed by forested foothills which have a high
primary gully frequency and therefore ample opportunities for many
additional storages to be constructed a la Keyline: not much hope now though
as they are bloody National Park! It is after all the 'City in the Forest'!

Our rural property is out near Lake Eppalock and it is annual/perennial
grassland currently with a new 5 row shelterbelt that is also designed as a
primary fire break. Apart from the fires at Redesdale and at my
grandfather's and great-grandfather's watering hole, the 'Farmer's Arms' at
Junortoun, this area was fortunately spared from the conflagration. It would
have burnt out though as this perimeter shelterbelt was only planted in 2008
and the level of perennial native grasses is currently quite low but quite
green (C4's) in spite of the 'abnormal' drought and unprecedentedly high
temperatures of the week before we came over and then on the fire day when
local temperatures hovered around 50 C (122 F) with hot northerly winds over
over 100kmh (55mph).

So that about sums things up from a distance where it is lovely and green,
30C (85F) everyday, not a sign of fire anywhere nor likely and on one of the
best Permaculture properties on the planet...where the biggest loss has been
our good mate Joe....

Our thoughts go out to all the folks who have lost property, buildings,
animals as there is not much worse that can happen as events go apart from
war etc: our role I suppose is to highlight in our own systems what has and
hasn't worked and through our individual and collective advocacy and
demonstration try and minimise the impacts of future fires.....Unfortunately
this is likely to increase in frequency due to climate change and the
paucity of appropriate planning and moreso action that is going on to deal
with it....

Again thanks to those of you who have sent notes of concern along....we very
much appreciate it...

All the best,

Darren J. Doherty

News 2009!

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