Wednesday, 21 September 2011


Amazed to hear along the local grapevine today that my little home village of Leura has hit the headlines on account of some twisted firestarter going apeshit down in the bush, deliberately starting fires with 'incendary devices' (whatever they are). Ok its no London riots, but two of the eight fires started were uncomfortably close to the Robert Smiths Tears childhood compound and let me tell you the bush is terrifying enough as a kid - harbouring axe murderers, paedophiles, flashers and other itinerant bogeymen - let alone deranged firebugs stalking the forest canopies armed with gasoline and matches.

Having been distracted these last few weeks poncing through elegant English country estates and the wild badlands of rural Russia, I was reminded today of just how brutal the Australian landscape can be. Australia is renowned at the best of times for being an unforgiving land of barbarity due to extreme weather conditions. If entire rural towns aren't disappearing up in smoke during the devilishly hot summers (Victoria, 2009) then its the capital cities finding themselves submerged under putrid flood waters (Brisbane, 2011).

In 1957, large parts of Leura were destroyed after a bushfire swept up through the surrounding valley engulfing the modest row of village shops in less than an hour. Vintage pics below from Naomi Bulger's blog. Luckily the village has escaped the grapes of wrath of wild bushfires since then, however each summer feels like a lottery when a collective sigh of relief is felt when your number hasn't come up for another year.

The local fire brigades are a vital part of the Blue Mountains community and as the threat of bushfire destruction re-emerges each summer, controlled burning performed by (often volunteer) fire-fighters minimises the risk. The distinctive aroma of bushfires are an evocative memory of many a bogan Aussie childhood as well as the 'get down low, go go go!' government school fire advice dished out to doe-eyed young primary schoolers back in the 80s. Fire kills, peeps. Don't be a dick'ead with matches!! 

Thanks to Nick Moir, smh, Sky News and flickr for all other images. 


  1. You'll be happy to know that they caught the ne'er do wells that perpetrated this heinous crime. Two bored bogan teens who deserve ASBOs tout suite. I hope Casa de la Manhands escaped unscathed.

  2. On another topic...this reminded me of you...
    Thought you'd like the story of he artist, and you look a bit like the top portrait.