Like many countries, Australia is no stranger to devastating bushfires; however, the recent fires shook Australians – and the rest of the world – to the core. The statistics are heartbreaking; 18,600,000 hectares (an area larger than Portugal), at least 33 people, around 3,000 homes, and an estimated 1 billion animals (and that’s excluding fish, frogs, bats and insects) have been lost…
Just as unprecedented droughts came before the fires, intense rainfall followed, causing floods in place of where fires had been only weeks before. Our country has seen it all.
We were the lucky ones; the closest fires from the Gold Peg offices in Melbourne were 4 hours drive away. All of our employees and families are safe, for which we are so grateful.
Through this tragedy, people have banded together like never before. Donations and assistance have come from all over the world, giving communities much-needed hope for the future. The spirit of support can be felt from far and wide.
The Australian of the Year Award a nominee’s past and present achievements, as well as their ongoing contribution to the Australian community and nation. Award recipient Dr James Muecke – a highly respected eye surgeon pioneering blindness prevention – in an unprecedented act, dedicated his acceptance speech to the recent disasters. Dr Muecke said that throughout the turmoil, the best of human nature had been on display, and in his eyes, fire fighters and emergency services personnel were the real heroes.
We couldn’t agree more – most were unpaid volunteers fighting to save people, their homes, the land and our wildlife, and we are forever in their debt.
Images of the many species of Australia’s iconic wildlife lost – koalas, kangaroos, platypuses and wombats, amongst others – have been truly devastating for all to see. Once again, communities and businesses have come together to help injured animals. Here at Gold Peg, we made the decision to donate to Wildlife Victoria, a local charity doing a wonderful job supporting wildlife shelters in affected areas.
Out of this crisis came many positive stories, too; one win for the environment involved a secret mission to save a variety of "prehistoric" pine trees thought to be extinct until discovered 26 years ago. A specially deployed team of fire fighters and conservation experts was airlifted into Wollemi National Park (2 hours north-west from Sydney), successfully saving these rarest of trees.
The natural beauty of Australia remains. Our native gum trees are regenerating, towns are rebuilding, our wildlife is healing, as are our communities… slowly, but surely.
We have seen our people come through this disaster with grace and strength.
Now that the fires have either been contained or extinguished completely, our stunning country is recovering fast!