Sons of Wyndham

Contributed by Mark and Sue Canaider

It’s Monday morning in New Buildings and it’s pouring down rain.

The rain smells of smoke actually, everything smells or tastes of smoke even Vincent Walkers’ home brew.

The rivers and creeks are rising and the fires are at last being drowned down.

The irony of one significant environmental catastrophe being eased by another is something that will surely be the topic of further discussion.

Nonetheless the rain provides a moment to reflect on recent events.

These fires have had a profound effect on our entire community and the landscape we live in and with. The fires interrupted our lives with a brutal reality.

The fires became the focus of the community and caused us to respond in ways to ensure the safety and survival of us all.

It has significantly burnt the property of many.

It has reduced to ash, treasured homes, livestock and possessions.

It has destroyed and savaged the habitat and animals of the landscape we inhabit.

The views from some verandahs will never be the same. Memories have been lost and memories have been made.

The community did what they needed to do.

The store stayed open. Pete and Ainslie and their staff, continued to be there for everyone, tirelessly, despite the threat of fire to their home and livelihood. The store was critical to the community wellbeing. Immeasurable effort and effect.

The town water supply stayed open. Water was vital, water supply and management being crucial for our community wellbeing and safety. Bob Hunt did that as he always has done.

The local fire brigade members and the support crews from near and far, did what they always do in a crisis. They rallied, raised awareness and delivered information and organised action. They fought the fires they could and with that came a sense of security that only a fire truck can provide.

Greg Bray seems to just appear everywhere and anywhere, a bit like the Phantom and, he either extinguished or buried the seemingly unstoppable fire danger. Or, he fixed the impeller in your pump as he drove by...

Just as he always does.

Again, of immeasurable benefit to his neighbours, friends, his community.

Sheldon, Christopher, Shane and Floyd, Sons of Wyndham did what they always do.

They became involved with such a magnificent sense of purpose despite the danger and the risk to themselves.

They were not prepared to sit and watch.

They threw themselves at the fire with courageous endeavour.

They saved so many houses in that heavily impacted area of New Buildings Road and surrounds, so much bravery and tenacity shown.

How much property they saved and how much mental anguish and pain of property loss, they avoided for others, will never be fully realised or measured.

Probably because it’s immeasurable.

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On a personal note. Our slab house, built in 1878, on New Buildings Road is still there largely due to the fearless action of more “Sons of Wyndham “ . The fire destroyed the sheds at the rear of one of the oldest homes in the district. It even burned the steps off the back Veranda. Jake, Zac, Will, Nathan, Mick and Mick. These young men are brave and thoughtful.

They too are immeasurable.

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‘Community coming together in desperate times’, is a phrase used a little too freely.

However, in the aftermath of the 2020 fires, what I have witnessed and benefited from and tried to contribute to, is something I believe to be more than a press headline. The actions of the community are beyond that. This is a true stories of real people that believe in the place and community they call home. They believe it is worth the trouble.

I believe they are champions of the place we call home and that they deserve our support not only in crisis but in our every day. They have ours.

They are immeasurable.

Thank you.

Mark and Sue Canaider