Stories from the road to recovery

Old Man Fire


Clyde Waterman talking to SA Minister for Environment, David Speirs MP. Photo Credit: Fire Fund Team.

As many Australians were preparing for the festive season, fires came to the Adelaide Hills.

The blazes resulted in the tragic loss of one life, and destroyed more than 80 homes across Cudlee Creek, Lobethal, Woodside, Birdwood, Inverbrackie, Harrogate, Brukunga, Charleston, Kenton Valley, Mount Torrens and Lenswood.

To add to the blows, the region’s wine industry lost 500ha of vines across 60 vineyards damaged – impacting future vintages and the precious tourist dollars which come from cellar door visits.

When Minderoo Foundation visited the area, we were shaken by the devastating stories of loss, but we were strengthened by the community’s efforts to rally together. 

As we chatted with locals at the pub in Woodside, Clyde Waterman from Kenton Valley shared the poem he wrote after the fire burned through his property.

When he was younger, Clyde learnt about poetry from his Grandfather Glen McEwin. He told us that over the years, when life gets particularly challenging, he finds it helpful to put it into words. His lines deliver a message about the futility of facing down fire and the value of life.

Old Man Fire.

I woke up this morning, not knowing what to do.

I found myself wandering aimlessly, lost, completely in the poo.

My cattle were scorched, my boundary fences haphazardly torched.

Old Man Fire had come to visit.

He didn’t stay long as he was only passing through.

My story tells others not knowing what to do.

Old Man Fire.

For those of you who find this position, may give rise to another supposition.

With every new day comes a large fat chance – but please do not meet our friends cutting lance.

Old Man Fire.

Stay in contact to hear more from those affected by Australia’s bushfire disaster and stories of communities coming together.

Minderoo is mobilising and funding volunteers who can provide support on the ground. 

Bushfire affected communities need helping hands from all over the country to move along the road to recovery.  

Together with local and government agencies, Minderoo Foundation seeks to help regional towns and communities. 

We ask you to join us in helping Australia rebuild. Visit Fire and Flood Resilience.

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