bushfires - 2ST

100 trees to mark 100 years of Rotary


100 years of Rotary is being marked - and the Shoalhaven environment is the big winner.

Milton-Ulladulla Rotary is teaming with Darling Harbour Rotary this weekend, focussing on the region's environment.

Each club will plant 100 trees on bushfire devastated land this weekend.

Milton Ulladulla Rotary's Leonie Corrin-Smith said "All up 200 saplings will be established on private properties around the Conjola - Yatte Yattah area."

Image: supplied


Air crane Gypsy Lady ready for fire season


The Shoalhaven Rural Fire Service has welcomed the arrival of the first of six Erickson S-64 Air Cranes that will be stationed around the country ahead of the summer bushfire season.

The impressive ‘Gypsy Lady’ arrived in Sydney this week on board an airlifter plane and is now ready for operation.

RFS Shoalhaven District officer Paul Lyddiard has welcome the largest of the fire fighting helicopters which he says are very versatile and can dump a large load of retardant. But, after last year’s horror season, he hopes the aircraft will not be required in the Shoalhaven this summer.

Photo: Kestral Aviation


Alleged South Coast looter in court


A man faced court yesterday charged with a range of property and firearm offences after allegedly breaking into houses and stealing property during the bushfires on our South Coast earlier this year.

In the first week of January, South Coast Police commenced an investigation after receiving reports of alleged break, enter and steals occurring in the Malua Bay area while people were evacuated from their homes.

Following extensive inquiries officers from the South Coast Proactive Crime Team executed a search warrant at a property in Mogo about 8am Thursday.

They seized a replica assault rifle (gel blaster), gel blaster ammunition, cannabis, a taser shaped as a baton, electronic goods and homemade mace.

A 37-year-old man was arrested and taken to Batemans Bay Police Station, where he was charged with the following:

- break, enter and steal,

- take and drive conveyance without consent of owner (x2),

- receiving stolen property,

- goods in custody suspected stolen (x2),

- drive vehicle whilst unlicensed (x2),

- acquire firearm subject to prohibition order,

- acquire ammunition subject to prohibition order,

- use prohibited weapon contrary to prohibition order.

The man was refused bail ahead of a court appearance in Batemans Bay Local Court .

Also on Thursday police executed a second search warrant at a property in Mogo, where cannabis was allegedly located and seized.

A 52-year-old man will be issued a future court attendance notice in relation to possession of prohibited drug and will face court at a later date.

Photo: Batemans Bay Courthouse. Source: Google.com

Bushfire hub to re-open in Ulladulla


Bushfire affected residents in the southern Shoalhaven will be able to access further support with the opening of the Shoalhaven Recovery Hub in Ulladulla this week.

The Shoalhaven Recovery Hub, coordinated by Shoalhaven City Council, will open its doors from Thursday 4 February 2021.

The hub will operate out of the Ulladulla Civic Centre and will open weekly on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturday mornings.

On hand will be the Council Bushfire Recovery Outreach team together with service providers and agencies.

Shoalhaven Mayor Amanda Findley says a lot has happened over the past 12 months, it has not been easy with COVID-19 restrictions and hopes opening the hub will make it easier for community members to access support and feel comfortable to visit for a coffee and a chat.

“Council remains committed to supporting bushfire affected residents in the community," Cr Findley said.

'Everyone is at a different stage of the recovery journey. That is why we want to ensure there is a space that people can come to connect and reach out for support.

“Whilst COVID-19 saw the closure of some recovery outreach services, Council has continued to aid the community through its dedicated Bushfire Recovery Helpline.

"The Bushfire Recovery Outreach team has received thousands of calls since it started in June 2020.

“I encourage the community to drop into the Hub and connect with Council’s Bushfire Recovery Outreach team.

"You can also talk with a number of service providers and agencies such as Barnardos for advice, support and information as well as referrals for health, wellbeing and financial support.

“You can call council’s dedicated Bushfire Recovery Helpline between 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday on 4429 5888 our team is here to listen and to help.”

Council will have in place a COVID-safe plan and practices for the Hub to ensure public safety.

The Shoalhaven Recovery Hub’s opening hours will be: 

  • Thursdays, 10.30am – 4.00pm
  • Fridays, 10.30am – 4.00pm
  • Saturdays, 10.00am – 1.00pm

Bushfire recommendations vital safety and backburning protocols


The State Government is making solid headway implementing all 76 recommendations from an inquiry into last year’s bushfires, according to the first progress report on the work of Resilience NSW which was tabled last week.

The Independent Bushfire Group says there have been vital work on safety equipment, and new backburning protocols will help firefighters faced with difficult decisions.

It says new night-capable helicopters and spotter planes will help control lightning fires before they get out of control.

However, the group is disappointed about progress on managing the long-term ecosystem impacts of bushfire.

Image: supplied 



Bushfire recommendations vital safety and backburning protocols


The State Government is making solid headway implementing all 76 recommendations from an inquiry into last year’s bushfires, according to the first progress report on the work of Resilience NSW which was tabled last week.

The Independent Bushfire Group says there have been vital work on safety equipment, and new backburning protocols will help firefighters faced with difficult decisions.

It says new night-capable helicopters and spotter planes will help control lightning fires before they get out of control.

However, the group is disappointed about progress on managing the long-term ecosystem impacts of bushfire.

Image: supplied 

Bushfire victim contributing towards biodiversity research

kasey bio project

A Wingello resident who's house burnt down in the Morton bushfire is trying to find out more about the the impact of bushfires on our environment.

Casey Kirchhoff who's also a PhD candidate at the UNSW Centre for Ecosystem Science is helping organise the Big Bushfire BioBlitz starting on February 25.

She said it's all about recording as many species as possible.

"All someone has to do is if they're keen to contribute biodiversity research is set up a project on the platform under our umbrella and they're good to go,

"I know huge areas of the Morton National Park and up in the north of the Southern Highlands were affected, so I'd love to see some observations coming in from the Highlands

For further details click here.

Image: Dean Martin Great Southern Bioblitz

Coronial Inquest into the deaths of three Shoalhaven residents in the 2019 Black Summer Bushfires due to start


The Coronial Inquests into the deaths of three Shoalhaven residents during the 2019 Currowan Black Summer Bushfire is expected to start today.

The Coroner will examine the circumstances surrounding the deaths of 69-year-old Sussex Inlet man Michael Campbell - 75-year-old John Butler senior and 70-year-old Laurie Andrews both from Yatte Yattah.


A Coronial Inquiry into the Currowan Bushfire had previously heard the blaze was ignited by lightning strikes and had jumped the Princes Highway near Lake Conjola on New Years' Eve in 2019.

Images: NSW Rural Fire Service & Gavin Flannigan



Fire-hit areas say fix phone black spots


People evacuating from bushfires on our south coast were essentially trapped without adequate mobile phone coverage, a royal commission has been told.

Shoalhaven City Council says the Princes Highway, the main corridor connecting coastal towns and villages along the south coast, is notorious for poor mobile reception.

"While this is unacceptable at the best of times, during the mass evacuation that occurred at the start of January 2020 thousands of people were essentially trapped on this corridor without adequate mobile phone coverage," it said in a submission to the bushfires royal commission.

"Therefore, any safety warning issued via mobile phone were useless in this scenario."

Several councils highlighted telecommunications black spots as a key issue during the unprecedented 2019-20 bushfires in submissions to the royal commission, ahead of a hearing focusing on local governments this week.


Photo: News stock

Lake Conjola supports the victims of the Black Summer bushfires


After the fires on New Year’s Eve 2019 Lake Conjola Bowling Club in line with the local businesses in Conjola was organising a Huge Fundraiser to raise money for the fire survivors In Conjola Park, Lake Conjola the close surrounding areas. 

Due to Covid-19, this could not take place and to date, the club has not been able to hold this event due to numbers under Covid.

Once people heard of the big fundraiser last year the club had many donations of raffle prizes, 69 fantastic auction items, many being beverages, food, and all equipment for the day was donated as well. 

Many Clubs from Sydney and Wollongong donated cash and prizes, kids sold lemonade and sent in the cash, a lady made cupcakes and sent cash.

Small business from Canberra, Sydney, Wollongong, and locally who wanted to help Conjola sent money to the Club. 

So this Sunday the Club has invited those who lost homes, contents/ other personal possessions in the catastrophic fires to attend the Club for some snacks, a beverage, listen to some music, relax and to catch up and meet many other survivors. 

The club has divided up the cash donated and all those will receive a portion. 

Up to $79,500 has been donated.

Image: supplied 

More bushfire vegetation removal funding

wingello burning

Wingecarribee Council has secured a $4.59 million dollar funding grant from the Environment Protection Authority to clear thousands of tonnes of bushfire damaged trees.

Council was one of 15 regional councils to receive funding and the focus will be on the Shire’s bushfire-impacted villages including Balmoral, Bundanoon, Exeter, Wingello, Penrose and the Wombeyan Caves area.

Director of Communities and Place, Geoff King said the grant would help the Shire’s bushfire impacted communities continue to move forward.

“A massive amount of green waste was generated right across our Shire,

“The ongoing clean-up will continue to take years and while much has already been done, this funding will go a long way to clearing thousands more burnt trees,”Mr. King said.

Image: Wingello Village Store

NSW fire devastation continues


At least 45 homes have been destroyed in bushfires which swept across northern NSW, killing an elderly couple and leaving locals devastated.

The NSW Rural Fire Service says there's no timeline for when it will be safe for residents to return to fire-ravaged areas as assessment teams continue to count the toll of the blazes.

"We're obviously trying to make safe everything as quick as we can with the assistance of external agencies" RFS spokesman James Morris told AAP on Friday.

As of the last count, 37 homes were destroyed in the Busbys Flat fire which ripped through Rappville and the surrounding area on Tuesday afternoon, while eight houses were razed in the Drake fire, which claimed the lives of 77-year- old Bob Lindsay and Gwen Hyde, 68.

Meantime Illawarra, Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands RFS are among the volunteers being sent in to help out.

Photo source: NSW RFS

Participants needed for bushfire survey

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Researchers from the School of Health and School of Psychology are asking residents of the Shoalhaven and Highlands to take part in a survey being conducted through the University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales.   

The survey is focusing on the 2019-2020 Australian Bushfires and the impact of mental health of those affected. 

The outcomes will be used to develop reports to send to governments and funding bodies as well; as prepare academic papers.

The survey will take about 10 minutes to complete and open to anyone across Australia affected by the fires in the past 12 months.

All survey data will remain anonymous and only group findings will be reported.

Click here to participate in the survey or for more information, contact Professor Kim Usher by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


IMAGE CREDIT: Prof Kim Usher's Research - Facebook

Photographic book about black summer bushfires

photo voice october 29 2021

A new photographic book about the Black Summer bushfires is being launched at the Southern Highlands Botanic Gardens on Sunday.

"Photo Voice'' is all about renewal and resilience, with proceeds going back to locals who are still affected by the disaster.

Chair of the Southern Highlands Foundation Shelley Boyce said there are some amazing pictures.

"They were taken mostly by people who were there, including firefighters,

"Some of them are extraordinary photographs,''Ms. Boyce said.

The launch starts at 11:30am for a midday start.

Due to covid restrictions you need Click here to register.

Image: Bodhi Todd

Premier says fire victims 'not forgotten'


New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian assured South Coast bushfire victims they "are not forgotten" during her visit to Batemans Bay this morning.

Following a tour of the almost completed Batemans Bay Bridge with Member for Bega Andrew Constance, Mrs Berejiklian said the State Government was continuing to support the individuals, families, businesses and communities impacted by last summer's fires.

"We know the pain and suffering that communities are still feeling," she said.

"We will continue to work with you to allow you to get back to a quality of life that you had before the bushfires."

Mr Constance said mental health was still a major battle for many and that the trauma would continue for years to come.

During her visit, the Premier said she was pleased the new Batemans Bay Bridge over the Clyde River, which was due for completion in 2023, would open "months ahead of schedule".

"By the Easter long weekend, cars will be driving across this bridge," she added.

She said the project provided 1000 jobs for the region, including apprenticeships, and the bridge would be a boost for locals as well as tourists.

She said improved safety on the Princes Highway was a priority right down to the Victorian Border.

Mrs Berejiklian said yesterday's roll-out of Covid-19 vaccinations was a "welcome relief", with 35,000 staff in public hospitals to be vaccinated within the next three weeks, plus residents of aged care homes.

"It is a game changer for us," she said.

"It reduces the risk for our staff who have been on a knife’s edge for 13 months."

The Premier will be joined by Member for South Coast Shelley Hancock and Kiama MP Gareth Ward to announce details of a new youth employment skills project in Nowra this afternoon.

The Productivity Bootcamp proposed for South Nowra will offer an eight-week skills and work values program aimed at getting young people into the trade and construction industry.   

Prestigous award for Buxton playground

buxton rural fire service

Wollondilly Council has picked up a prestigious award for its work on the ‘Telopea Park RFS Fire Truck Memorial Playground at Buxton.

The project was been named Parks and Leisure Australia's Best Regional/Rural Industry Contribution Award Winner.

It was built in honour of Geoffrey Keaton and Andrew Dwyer who lost their lives in the Green Wattle Creek fire.

It was officially opened in December last year, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison in attendance.

Image: Buxton Rural Fire Service 

Report released into Wingecarribee Shire Council's handling of the Black Summer Bushfires


Wingecarribee Shires Internal Administrator has released a report into the council's handling of the 2019 / 2020 Black Summer Bushfires.

Interference amongst suspended councillors, a lack of leadership, and inexperience in dealing with large-scale disasters are amongst the report findings.

Internal Administrator, Viv May said the findings paint a sobering picture.

"The council's response was clearly not good enough and the organisation could have served the community better," he said

Mr. May conceded the size and scale of the bushfires were unprecedented and acknowledged that the council was not the lead combat agency.


"This report demonstrates that the council and local government, in general, need to acknowledge that they are still the first and most important port of call for their respective communities," he said.

On the other hand, Mr. May pointed out many council staff went above and beyond and should be acknowledged for their efforts.

The report was prepared by former New South Wales Deputy Commissioner Dave Owens and makes 44 recommendations.

Click HERE to read the full report.

Images: Supplied

Responding to the Black Summer NSW Bushfire Inquiry recommendations


Firefighting drones, aerial firefighting, enhanced strategic fire trails and improvements to local emergency infrastructure and equipment will be funded by an additional $268.2 million over four years as part of the NSW Government’s response to the independent NSW Bushfire Inquiry.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott were joined by NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Rob Rogers AFSM, Commissioner of Resilience NSW Shane Fitzsimmons AFSM, and Fire and Rescue NSW Acting Commissioner Jim Hamilton to announce the funding package.

This takes the total amount committed by the Government in response to the Bushfire Inquiry, in partnership with the Commonwealth, to more than $460 million.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the funding will help rollout critical projects that will assist firefighters to protect communities right across the State.


 "This commitment will bolster the future of our fire agencies and preparedness of communities, many of whom have personally witnessed the devastating effects of fire,” Mr Perrottet said.

The package will fund new and refurbished fire trucks,  two black hawk helicopters will replace existing NSW RFS helicopters.


The new National Fire Danger Ratings System will also be adopted.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said "The NSW Government will continue to act on the learnings of our ‘Black Summer’ of bushfires."

Images: NSW Rural Fire Service


Southern Highland's bushfire Response, Recovery and Resilience Expo


It is day one of the Southern Highland's online bushfire Response, Recovery and Resilience Expo.

Wingecarribee Shire Council has joined with Wollondilly Shire Council to host the three-day Expo to help residents prepare, recover, and re-build in the face of natural disasters.

Wingecarribee Shire Council’s General Manager Lisa Miscamble said the free Expo had been organised to provide residents of the adjoining Shires with support and advice leading up to the summer months.

“Both the Wingecarribee and Wollondilly Shires suffered significant losses during and following the Black summer
bushfires,” she said.


Head of Resilience NSW, Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons and Disaster Recovery Expert Anne Leadbeater will both
speak at the event.


Issues to be covered include disaster preparedness, recovery assistance and rebuilding advice.

Ms Miscamble said, “No one ever wants to see a repeat of this catastrophic event and we want to ensure our residents are as best prepared as possible leading into this year’s bushfire danger period.”

Images: NSW Rural Fire Service 



Students get potting for fire victims


School children from throughout Shoalhaven, and also Sydney, have been nurturing native plants that will be distributed to Lake Conjola's bushfire victims this week.

Up to five thousand native plants will help replace gardens lost in the fires, with a series of workshops also planned as part of the Convoy of Hope's REGROW Conjola initiative.

Plants will be available for pick-up from Hoylake Park, in Conjola Park tomorrow (Friday), where students from Nowra Anglican College and St Mary's Primary School will be on hand to meet residents and enjoy a barbecue lunch.

Regrow spokesperson Karen Lissa says  even more plants will be available next year, as residents rebuild their homes, and when they are ready for them.

The initiative brings school children, volunteer groups and businesses together, to facilitate the nurturing, planting and regeneration of residential gardens impacted by bushfire, in the Conjola and Surrounds area.

Students at Scots College, Claremont College, Kings School, Newington College, Inaburra School, Nowra Anglican College, St Marys Catholic Primary at Milton, Milton Public School, Ulladulla Public School and Ulladulla High School have been growing native tube-stock into pot plants for the residents to plant in their gardens

The free native plants will be available for pick up, along with free native plant workshops on the following dates and locations:

Hoylake Park, Conjola Park 

Pick-up Friday November 13 from 1.30pm - 4pm, and Saturday 14th from 8am - 4pm

Native plant workshop with morning and afternoon tea – 10am and 2pm (30 minute sessions).


Lake Conjola Community Centre

Pick-up Friday November 27 from 1.30pm - 4pm and Saturday 28th from 8am - 4pm

Native plant workshop with morning and afternoon tea – 10am and 2pm (30 minute sessions)

To register your interest email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Photo Nowra Anglican College.

Three day virtual bushfire expo

green watle creek fire picton fire and rescue

Wingecarribee Council is teaming up with Wollondilly Council to host an online bushfire Response, Recovery and Resilience Expo.

The virtual expo will be held over three days starting on Friday and will feature a number of guest speakers including Head of Resilience NSW, Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons and Disaster Recovery Expert Anne Leadbeater.

Issues to be covered include disaster preparedness, recovery assistance and rebuilding advice.

Bookings are essential, and to register click here

Image: Picton Fire & Rescue NSW

Two new sites enhance Public Safety Network


The Public Safety Network (PSN) across the South Coast has been expanded with the completion of two sites at Jerrawangala and Vincentia.

Member for South Coast Shelley Hancock says the new radio sites, delivered by the NSW Telco Authority, are vital to ongoing community safety on the South Coast.   

“These sites provide emergency services organisations with a single, integrated network on which to communicate,” she said.

“It’s technology that saves lives. By expanding the footprint of this critical infrastructure, we are ensuring that frontline responders have a more reliable network to help keep people and places safe.

“PSN sites were crucial in protecting communities and supporting the Rural Fire Service, Police, Fire and Rescue, Ambulance and the State Emergency Service during the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires in NSW.

“The recent floods across the State are a powerful reminder of the critical role the PSN plays during emergencies.”

Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said the NSW Government was investing more than $600 million in essential infrastructure to better protect communities.

“During an emergency every second counts. The new radio sites at Jerrawangala and Vincentia will make it easier for our local emergency services to communicate when it matters most,” he said.

Photo telco.nsw.gov.au