Kinglake Bushfire Update 3/4 (Looting)

To: "'Birding Aus'" <>
Subject: Kinglake Bushfire Update 3/4 (Looting)
From: "Paul Dodd" <>
Date: Mon, 16 Feb 2009 00:09:26 +1100
This wasn't the first time my sister and her partner had returned to the
site. They has been allowed back two days previously. At that time they
salvaged the Victorian-era cast-iron bathtubs and toilet cistern from the
ashes. However, they noticed something at that time - they weren't the first
people on the site. There were footprints in the ash, and items had been
removed from the rubble - some items had been lined up on the bluestone wall
they had. Also, my nephew has an old car that he used to drive around their
back paddock. Surprisingly the car survived the fire, with scorch-marks
only. However, someone had been there before, because they had smashed the
windscreen and also the front passenger window. The windscreen appeared to
be an act of vandalism only, but the passenger window was smashed so the car
could be opened. My sister is going to bring out a sign that reads, "We have
already lost almost everything, please don't loot what little we have left."
Almost everyone has a story of looting in the area. No one has any idea
whether it is kids getting in, or people seriously looking through the
rubble for valuables.


In the remains of the sheds was the remains of the motorcycle collection. A
1960s era BSA, and a number of Japanese bikes. Surprisingly the BSA
"survived" - tyres were lost, but the steel frame and cast-iron engine block
were intact. All the Japanese bikes, including my nephew's trail bike, were
lost. The steel frames had warped, and the all aluminium engines had melted.


>From the house you can now see the Hurstbridge-Kinglake Road because all the
foliage between the house and road has burned. A constant stream of vehicles
- mostly work crews, were travelling along the road. Also from the house you
can see a couple of kilometres of Ninks Road - I had no idea that it was so
close, before this. Ninks Road is where 22 of 26 houses were lost. On the
hills that you can now see clearly are the other roads I've mentioned
previously. Places like Bald Spur Road where many people died. These roads
are like scars across the black hills. The place is just barren.


We walked the perimeter of the property. Most fences have gone - the fence
posts burned, and the fencing wire on the ground. The powerlines to the
property are down, although at least one of the wooden power poles is still
standing. The sleepers around the garden and vegetable beds have burned, and
all the plants are gone. Amazingly though, while we were there my sister
pulled out several asparagus shoots that looked absolutely perfect! Walking
around I noticed how incredibly dusty it was. In places the dust was inches
thick on the ground. Presumably a combination of dust and ash. There seemed
to be no moisture in the ground whatsoever. I dread to think what is going
to happen when rain comes - the mud will be unbelievable, think.


We walked down to the dam where my sister's partner and their son jumped in
to escape the flames. The ash that had previously been on the surface of the
water was gone and the water looked remarkably clear. On the first day they
returned they found six large carp floating in the dam. They previously
hadn't even know that they had carp in their dam! All the foliage around the
dam is gone, it must have been so hot as the trees and bushes burned there -
I can't imagine what it must have been like to be in the dam with towels
over heads as the bushes and trees burned. Once again, I think they are
incredibly lucky to have survived.




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