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Posts Tagged ‘Marysville’

I spent the first three days at the test this year. It was great to be there on the first day with Tom, and with friends and colleagues on the subsequent days. As I type this, I have watched bits and pieces of the fourth day on TV, including on a large outdoor screen that is still erected in Marysville. I’ve also listened to the fantastic ABC radio commentary.

One of the stand out performers this year has been Shane Watson. As much as he frustrates me with his attitude and apparent lack of sportsmanship, he’s been great. The other stand out has been Pakistan’s Mohamad Aamer. At 17 years of age, he certainly looks a superstar of the future.

I need to have my usual two rants. It makes me feel better to get them out there, even though I know there’s not a snowflake’s hope in hell that anything will change.

  1. Whatever happened to the days when it was plain courtesy that you didn’t leave or go back to your seat during an over, thus walking in front of people as play is proceeding? It’s damn rude and incredibly frustrating. It’s even more frustrating when it happens in the Members’ area – these people should know better.
  2. Why the hell do the morons in Bay 13 and the general vicinity bother? ‘Nuf said.

Rant over. Normal service restored.

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With Carol and me both on leave this week, we’ve been looking for a couple of day trips to do. Carol had seen a news story on the new supermarket opening in Marysville and how the locals were encouraging visitors to come along and help get the town back on its feet after the fires. What a good idea, we thought. So off we headed to Marysville this morning.

It was certainly a trip of contrasting emotions. I didn’t get to Marysville during Red Cross activities – most of my time was spent in Kinglake, Kinglake West and Whittlesea. It’s still hard not to have an emotional attachment. As we drove into the town, it was impossible to miss what had happened. All the debris is gone, but the bare cement slabs and cleared allotments give it all away.

We parked where the Caltex service station had been. The sign is still there, strangely the first thing that sprang to mind was a question about why Marysville would need a 24 hour service station. Unfortunately, it’s now 24 hours less than that – all that remains other than the sign is the concrete driveway.

Neither of us could get out of the car immediately, feeling the need to gather ourselves emotionally before we ventured forth.

The main purpose of our visit was not to go and see for ourselves what had happened. I’d had enough of that at Kinglake and Kinglake West, and Carol had assisted people at the relief centre at Lilydale. The idea was to try, in our own small way, to help Marysville get back on its feet. It’s hard to do that in a major way – there is still only a minimum of businesses operating. But we bought an ornamental frog and some place mats at a gift shop, and a necklace at another. We had lunch at the cafe, which was teaming with people, none of whom seemed the least bit concerned about the delay getting served. We went to the supermarket and paid $12 for a Cherry Ripe, a small bottle of lemonade and a jar of honey. Normally I’d have a few words to say about those prices, but not on this occasion.

I’d never been to Marysville before the fires – people say it was an extremely pretty place to visit. It’s certainly not that now, but gee it’s great to see it slowly getting back on its feet. There is a cleared housing allotment across the road from the cafe where the only thing remaining is the front gate, pretty much totally covered by a large Christmas decoration. How fantastic it is to see the Christmas spirit prevailing despite the losses that have been experienced.

The most enduring memory from the day was the ferns growing throughout the forest on the drive between Marysville and Healesville. It was apparent the fires had been through this area, apparent from the blackness of the gum tree trunks and the lack of foliage. However, just about everywhere throughout the forest are these fantastic green ferns. The flames have clearly been the catalyst for these to regenerate more impressively than ever.

We were tempted to head over to Kinglake as well, but time and emotion said no, and we headed for home, via the White Rabbit Brewery and Beechworth Bakery in Healesville.

I encourage anyone reading this to make the effort, head into Marysville and give the local businesses your support. They deserve it!

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I sat and watched the Four Corners story on the Marysville fire tonight. I sit here now, typing this with an incredible flood of emotion washing through me.

Most of it is anger towards the ABC. Aunty, you are a disgrace. Why would you ask all those questions that will surely be asked by the Royal Commission? The senior command at CFA and the DSE rightfully refused to participate. But what is most galling? While the ABC behaves in such a disgraceful tabloid manner, it refuses to comment on matters where, perhaps, there may be some questions as to whether it stuffed up itself. What a disgraceful example of double standards. Let’s milk as much emotion out of it as we can, but let’s not leave our own arse uncovered, should there be reason for it to be uncovered.

And what is the rest of the emotion I’m feeling? An incredible sorrow for Glen Fiske, the CFA Captain. I cannot come vaguely close to imagining what he went through on Black Saturday and what he must be experiencing now as he rebuilds his life. Nor can I understand why the ABC would put him through such a collection of insensitive questions.

Glen Fiske, I salute you. And ABC, you are a disgrace.

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