Australia burning — Dear Readers, one of my favourite poets and all round nice person, Frank Prem, is currently writing a series of poems on the bushfire crisis that is underway in Australia.  Frank is the author of Devil In The Wind, a collection of poems about the personal accounts of those who experienced and survived the horrendous Black Saturday bushfires that swept across Victoria (Australia) in 2009.  That book was published last year.  Needless to say, I won’t be reading it until the smoke has cleared.

For those of you who may not know, Frank lives in an area that is currently sandwiched between two enormous out-of-control bushfires.  This brings a poignancy and emotion to his poems that will touch any reader.  These poems are laments for what is, what was, what could have been.  Frank writes for all of us who are caught up in this situation.  Check out his poems on his website at .

I want to share with you a couple of photos that my husband took in Namadgi National Park a couple of days before Christmas.  He and our son were looking for rare and precious native orchids. They didn’t find what they were looking for.  Perhaps, because the orchids had been trampled by a herd of cattle that had been let loose in the national park by a grazier or maybe because it was just too dry?  My lads did, however see seven  lyrebirds (no photos) and they saw some beautiful flame robins.  Flame robins?  Isn’t that ironic?  The inhabitants (the rare flora and fauna) of our alpine national parks are all in the firing line now from the fires that are surrounding Frank, who, as the crow flies, lives on the other side of the mountain range to where I live.

flame robin
Flame Robin – Namadgi National Park (2019)


The comment made by my True Love at the time he took these photos was that it was no wonder our son is so good at finding rare orchids.  He finds them because he goes to areas that no person would ordinarily go; to the type of places where one might find oneself if in a plane crash for instance.  The terrain is steep and inhospitable (to people).  It is not easy to do control burns in these areas, and even if feasible, would be hugely expensive.  Our National Parks staff are to be commended.  They do much to look after these vast wilderness areas with the little resources they have.  There are risks to living in a drought and fire prone country.  Is this a price worth paying?  I think it is.  We can do more though to prepare for the inevitable outbreak of bushfire.  We can do more to avoid a worst-case scenario of climate change that adds significantly to that risk and the potential impact of natural disasters.  We can and we must do more, otherwise what’s the point of being?

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Kind Regards.

45 thoughts on “In The Firing Line

  1. So many words Tracy but they wont come out. A good read. I haven’t seen anything from Frank in a long while. Probably since the Daily Post went west. Love a Flame Robin. Not found around here. Still have my fingers crossed x

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    1. That’s okay, Brian. There are times when I’ve been rendered speechless too.
      Frank has been extraordinarily busy this year. I think he has self-published three poetry books. I have them all. Plus, he continues to write.
      I’ve never seen a flame robin, Brian. I’m not constructed for the hiking the boys undertake. Plus, as you know, my eyesight isn’t all that good.

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  2. I love the flame robins, so beautiful. I agree with your comments about Frank’s poetry. He is chronicling his experience in such a powerful way. I see these poems as a call to action for the rest of us.

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  3. I enjoyed that, Tracy. Nice to finally know your name, by the way. And loved the pics of the robins. After reading your piece I can’t help but think of those robins as little sentinels.

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    1. Thank you for dropping by Dave. We have a passion for our Aussie birds, like many Australians. The robins, which are a different species to those found in other parts of the world, are one of our favourites (one can can never have too many favourites). It is an anxious time for us.

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    1. I loved the robin too, Sarah. I’m glad the boys brought home some photos for me.
      I’m very scared that we are already too late, but still we have to try. Maybe we can buy enough time through our paltry efforts for somebody clever to come up with some innovative carbon sequestration technology that can save humanity from its doom. We can only hope.

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      1. Yeah, buying time until someone clever turns up sounds good to me. 🙂 Hopefully she or he will make a fast appearance and isn’t still in her/his nappies. 😉

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  4. Tracy, thank you for so much for the mention.

    You, and the robin are jewels.

    Thank you to everyone for kind words and for having us in your thoughts and hearts as we struggle.

    Our lives will not be the same after this. Our world is becoming a different place.

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    1. I do not have words that would offer any comfort, Frank, because they would be just words, small lies and we are not ones to hide from the truth. I’m relieved that you have resumed your journal. It is important for us all but I understand it can get busy (massive understatement). You must have many evacuees in town from further south and also be worried about your patients. Take care and we shall meet one day.

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      1. It has not been good, Frank. My headaches aren’t so bad at the moment though. I stay inside mostly. I’ve also got a small air purifier from a mob in Wagga called Ausclimate. It runs almost constantly. Perhaps you need one of those? I think some air conditioners also have an air purifying function. Bigger bucks though. And then you need the right trade to install it. Like that’s going to happen. At least with the Ausclimate one, all you have to do is plug it in.

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  5. There is no place in the world where people can live without creating some kind of negative impact, some kind of destructive footprint. So we ordinary citizens turn off the water when we brush our teeth, we recycle every scrap of paper and tin, we buy organic whenever it’s available. But the biggest changes must be implemented by governments because they have the resources to execute far reaching corrective programs. What’s a sheet of tin when the whole world is on fire or drowning in the tides?

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    1. I wish governments, particularly of countries that are big carbon users and exporters, could see that the world won’t end by de-carbonising, but that it might end (as we know it) if we don’t. They seem to have little imagination. I’ve got a big car. I’m happy to give it up provided there are alternatives.

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