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10 years in the blink of an eye

By johnboy - 18 January 2013 36

So as you are no doubt already thoroughly sick of hearing it’s been ten years today since the 2003 bushfires turned the sky black and rained fire on the city while our leaders dithered.

It seems everything that could possibly said has been said.

But if you’ve got a remembrance you’d like to add knock yourself out in the comments.

UPDATE 18/01/13 16:41: The Chief Minister’s speech at the commemoration service is now available.

What’s Your opinion?


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36 Responses to
10 years in the blink of an eye
mossrocket 12:19 pm 18 Jan 13

A friend and I worked for Canberra Connect during that day 10 years ago. But as it was the weekend we were hanging out playing the Xbox at his place in Calwell.

As the fire approached, my friend was called up and told that his job for the day was to keep the website updated with any info – which then turned into updates of which street/suburb were being closed down.

We had dial up internet and a mobile phone to stay in contact with the ESA and with the website’s servers.

Very soon the mobile phone coverage went down. So we lost contact with ESA.

We were left in the horrid position of not being able to update Canberra Connect with the correct, timely, important, information. Instead we had to listen to 666 and quickly update the website to match…

and pop outside every couple of minutes to spray water onto the roof to put out the embers.

then the dial up started failing as well…
So we updated the site when we could, slowly losing touch with everything.

Then we heard that Calwell was being closed down, so I borrowed a car and raced home to be with my family.

It’s a story that got lost among the ashes, but the government was listening to 666 to know what was going on, and was relying on two stoned, xbox playing young men to update the ACT population…

mossrocket 12:09 pm 18 Jan 13

johnboy said :

Shane Rattenbury’s made a statement.

If the Chief Minister has it’s not on her website. (in fact she’s been silent since 30 November)

Isn’t Shane the Chief Minister now?

davo101 11:55 am 18 Jan 13

Reprobate said :

Worth a read:
http://www.impactednurse.com/?p=5422

“What did you do in the war, daddy?”

Shortly after the Code Brown was activated the s*** hit the fan

Reprobate 11:36 am 18 Jan 13

Worth a read:
http://www.impactednurse.com/?p=5422

“What did you do in the war, daddy?”

johnboy 11:25 am 18 Jan 13

A word to the Canberra Times is not a public statement.

KB1971 11:23 am 18 Jan 13

Holden Caulfield said :

Canberra was also incredibly fortunate, I think, that there was the fire near Black Mountain the previous year. Had those pines around Scrivener Dam still been there then it’s not too difficult to imagine how much more damage the 2003 fires could have done.

Thoughts with those who lost their homes or loved ones.

.

I have always said this considering that the fire spotted into the Glenloch interchange anyway.

it was as plain as day where the fire the previous year had been because the 2003 fire was stopped int is tracks because of it.

& they still don’t do enough hazard reduction in Namadgi………

Roundhead89 11:18 am 18 Jan 13

The thing I remember in the immediate aftermath was how everybody was heaping praise on 666 radio for their coverage when it was woeful. 666 said on their news that morning that the fires would not approach Canberra until the following day. At 13:00 when the fires were already at Weston and Kambah 666 crossed back to Grandstand (cricket and tennis coverage) and had to be dragged kicking and screaming into switching to emergency mode 20 minutes later after many phone calls. Indeed when someone said to the Sydney switchboard operator that Kambah was already burning the reply was “where’s Kambah?”.

When 666 finally switched it was woeful. Long interviews with ESA staff containing erroneous and sometimes just plain wrong information, pop songs interspersed throughout meaning that in a fast-moving situation we had to go four minutes without any updates, no independent reports such as station reporters, talkback calls, etc etc.

The Canberra Times – indeed the whole Canberra establishment – went all out canonising 666. Indeed they won a Chief Minister’s Award. During all this 2CC was providing up to date information from talkback callers, station reporters and the NSW emergency services.

In the weeks following the firestorm when the orgy of congratulations for 666 was in full swing I wrote three letters to The Canberra Times pointing out the flaws in 666’s coverage and praising 2CC. None of those letters were published.

It certainly opened my eyes as to how agenda politics works in Canberra and how the ABC has a stranglehold in a city of bureaucrats with only one newspaper.

akai 11:18 am 18 Jan 13

bundah said :

johnboy said :

Shane Rattenbury’s made a statement.

If the Chief Minister has it’s not on her website. (in fact she’s been silent since 30 November)

Ah indeed it appears silence is her friend.

It appears the CM has now given a statement

ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher says it has been a tough time in recent days for many who went through the past week, with all the reminders of what happened a decade ago.

But, she says, as well as the frightening stories, there was also “courage, kindness and a genuine coming together of communtiy that cares deeply about each other”.

She said the overwhelming memory would be that lasting legacy of the “desire to help friends, family, neighborus and strangers”, as the community rebuilt.

“For some 10 years is a long time. for others the recovery continues and the memory remains raw,” she said.

The city has changed over those 10 years. The nature parks are back and houses have been rebuilt, “some quickly, some took longer. Some people have stayed, others have moved. New families have moved in and started new chapters in their lives”.

Authorities had also learned lessons from the experience of that year.

“Our city is a safer place as a result, better prepared for an emergency than before,” she said.

Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/live-coverage-2003-firestorm-ten-years-on-20130118-2cx31.html#ixzz2IHWfXx2s

bundah 10:38 am 18 Jan 13

johnboy said :

Shane Rattenbury’s made a statement.

If the Chief Minister has it’s not on her website. (in fact she’s been silent since 30 November)

Ah indeed it appears silence is her friend.

davo101 10:32 am 18 Jan 13

johnboy said :

Archive.org has a close snapshot.

The Fires 2003 tag seems to work as well.

I’d forgotten the Paddy Guinness incident, explains the poll question of the day 🙂

johnboy 10:17 am 18 Jan 13

Archive.org has a close snapshot.

dannybear 10:08 am 18 Jan 13

Are there any posts on here from when it happened? Like original stories?

Panhead 9:48 am 18 Jan 13

What’s with the sour attitude John?

Holden Caulfield 9:46 am 18 Jan 13

I’m still just incredibly thankful that the closest I came to being directly affected was having all the helicopters based close by to where I was living at the time (Nicholls).

Canberra was also incredibly fortunate, I think, that there was the fire near Black Mountain the previous year. Had those pines around Scrivener Dam still been there then it’s not too difficult to imagine how much more damage the 2003 fires could have done.

Thoughts with those who lost their homes or loved ones.

I was living in SE Sth Aust as a wee tacker during the 1983 Ash Wednesday fires and over time people become complacent again in regards to the threat of fires. I hope that doesn’t happen here too. The regrowth in Canberra’s surrounds is well on the way to having the potential to fuel big fires again.

johnboy 9:41 am 18 Jan 13

Shane Rattenbury’s made a statement.

If the Chief Minister has it’s not on her website. (in fact she’s been silent since 30 November)

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