by Phil Anthony
On Thursday 27 February, Phil Anthony, Anthony James and Phil’s friend Rob flew Anthony’s Bonanza to Mallacoota to observe the bushfire devastation in Gippsland and to meet with two friends who were working in the relief of the township.
Along the way, there were extensive burnt areas and from Orbost flying East, the vast majority of the area we could see had been burnt.
We were greeted at Mallacoota airfield by Brodie and partner from Glasgow, Sandy. Brodie grew up in Mallacoota and was Phil’s daughter’s bridesmaid last year. Her parents’ house narrowly escaped the flames. As they were holidaying in Mallacoota when the fires started, they naturally helped the township recover in the best way they could. They now are working full time. Brodie is running the makeshift youth centre in the closed down newsagency and Sandy as an arborist, clearing damaged trees and rescuing koalas. Brodie hopes that the government will fund the continuation of the youth centre which has filled a need in the community.
After shouting our hosts lunch at the pub, they drove us around the town to show us the extent of the damage from fires. About a quarter of the town’s buildings were destroyed. Already the gums are re-growing but the tea trees will not. The caravan park had re-opened and we noticed many visitors in the town supporting the recovery. The AFL state of origin match the next night was a great way to help the recovery.
Well done and thanks so much to Brodie, Sandy and friends who work so tirelessly in support of the fire-ravaged communities.
A group of LFC pilots are planning to do a similar visit in March.