The fire hazzard reduction program

To: Roger Giller <>, 'Frank O'Connor' <>, "" <>
Subject: The fire hazzard reduction program
From: Graeme Stevens <>
Date: Thu, 5 Sep 2013 15:13:14 +1000

"Hazard Reduction"? Certainly important and hope I don't drift too far off 
topic here with the attached.  It mortifies me as well to see my patch around 
Sydney going up in flames in the peak breeding season: Is it not that in 
wishing to live in, or on the edge of, natural ecosystems - and having removed 
the original "land managers"we now find ourselves wedged in a conflict of 
extremes. We burn excessively to protect our ordered suburbs, monocultures and 
plantations or try to preserve to the detriment of necessary cycles (eg on 
heathlands) Here is a little historical record from an old grazier friend at 
Bombala NSW. Roger Giller also knows him well - and I am sure Denise will 
empathise!  Bear with me and read to the end for some thoughts on what may once 
have been more the norm (and I know there are more scientific works on the 
subject of previous fire regimes) Graeme Stevens (and I still haven't found a 
White-throated Grasswren!) ----------------------------------------------

"JAMBIE"   around 


                                Thought to be over 70 years old

               His  story as 
told to me by my Father Badan
William Bruce .


When  Charles 
and Helen  Bruce  had a General  Store 
for  basic supplies

on their farm which was on the right  hand side of the highway, on the steep 

the hill to Rocton (Still known as Bruces Pinch).


in a sturdy hut with a lean- to 
on their farm  was a very old man named Jambie 

who  said he 
was the last of his small tribe that had lived in the Rocton (NSW) and area

East of there, before white 
settlement .  They had suffered
so very badly ,

when Measles and Scarlet Fever  etc. 
caused  the death  of so very  many  in that tribe.

Jambie , stood almost 6 feet tall.  My Father remembered his large strong white

his stories of when he was young. 

was an outstanding hunter. He was 
very much liked by the  people of

They gave him food , clothing and
care, in return he

Foxes and Dingoes  with  success, when they were  troubling the valley.

had the use of an old .22 German rifle 
and was given  tiny .22 short

to use as needed.

Dingoes he hunted , when, they were killing
stock at night . He would go out with

rifle in the dark of the  night,  almost 
always returning with a fresh
Dingo skin..

enjoyed the fact that he could easily outwit them, on even terms, in the dark of


When  lightning started  summer fires and there was a rush to control
He would

angry and upset. He would say  that when the Fire Sprits
made hot  summer  fire it must burn - burn - burn.

He would say over and over ,That  bush was too thick now. No fires each year - 
The bush

too  thick,  No fat animals. Not enough animals,  Bush is sick,
too thick. Fire be

big  soon,  kill all animals in trees.


a hundred years on  we still  control 
the yearly summer fires  to the
best of our ability.

cannot, and do not, Just let them burn - burn- burn until enough  rain comes.


makes me ponder ?, Just what he remembered when he lived in  " Pristine Bush"  

a  child
and young man "

Compared to  what we  see and would like to think is
" Pristine Bush " ?     

some  60 years 


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