crawls the true Aussie spirit.
The wildlife - one of the things I love and miss about Australia. I'm sure everyone has seen this by now, but click on any of the following photos for the stories behind them. Koala Sam's encounter with Mr Tree is one of the most inspiring stories to come out of Victoria's tragedy.
Wildlife rescue centres are being set up around the state to help these guys. Healesville Sanctuary are taking injured animals and I bet the country vets are doing their fair share of voluntary work to help the shelters. It will be a long time before they have a home to return to.
Generosity like it is has never been know before. When people are in need Aussies are FANTASTIC at rallying together to help out. People are not only generously donating money, but food, clothing, toys, household items and the list goes on.
My cousin is one of the many people out there gathering all she can from her friends to donate to those who have been left homeless. An old school friend is collecting to help a friend of hers who lost everything and setting up a website to help her community. Another friend has started a project to collect photos for those who have lost everything, to help them rebuild at least a few photos from their past.
The comradeship, or mateship, as we lovingly refer to it as. The loyalty not only to friends and family, but to those we share any situation with. In this case, neighbours.
In this case, professionals from around the country who have volunteered their services to help locate and identify the bodies.
And finally, stubbornness and determination. That fighting spirit that takes risks and battles on, against all odds. While some vow never to return, many, many more are vowing to return and rebuild.
We often talk about national traits and these are the things that I love about Aussies - pitching in, whether it be to fight fires, care for wildlife, or give to those in need- time, money or anything they can get their hands on. There is great empathy and compassion for the underdog. There has always has been.
This is an extension of the mateship, binding people together to support each other if they are in the same situation, whether they know each other or not. It is an admirable trait.
And finally, the fighting spirit - it is what brought people to the country in the first place - they had to be daring, gutsy and willing to take a risk to settle here. You see the same traits present in the people of today when they declare they will be back. Many accept it is all part of the course if you are going to live in the bush.
Two traits that just might develop out of all this is the tendency to plan and to have more of a long term perspective. Hopefully John Brumby will be successful in introducing tougher building restrictions for the bush as outlined in this article. Ty commented on the flimsiness, and cheapness of the country dwellings when we were in rural Victoria just a month ago. In light of his comments it is ironic to see from these photos how the fires engulfed houses but seemingly left many trees intact.
Housing is relatively cheap in Australia. While more solid buildings might cost more in the short-term, hopefully people can see the long-term advantages. The estimated extra AUD 20,000 is peanuts when you look at it from this angle. Perhaps that famous Australian Dream needs to be adjusted slightly.
It is also encouraging to see in this article that other important issues of forest management and climatic change coming to the surface, amongst all the debris.
Aussies are a fantastic bunch - like no other. Let's hope they can rise to the challenge and begin to have a more long-term approach to life.
DN1, DN2, DN3, SvD1,