Melbourne Daily Photo

Hello, I created this blog because Melbourne is my city and I want people to see what a beautiful place it is. So come with me on a journey of discovery as we traverse the dining precincts, the culture, the laneways and hidden gems that make Melbourne marvellous.

Waltzing Australia

Friday, 1 January 2010

Theme Day - Changes

This is about the changes caused by fire

LAKE MOUNTAIN is, or rather was, beautifully forested with tall Mountain Ash - the tallest trees in Australia, and the closest alpine resort to Melbourne - only a 2 hour drive.

In summer, day trippers come for the scenic views and fresh mountain air - over 30 kms of walks, hikes and mountain bike riding. I did the hike up to the Lake Mountain summit (1433 metres above sea level) and was rewarded with magnificant views of the Victorian Alps. The summit loop walk is 2.4 km, and the Alps Lookout is 300 metres from the summit.

I'd been camping at the Black Spur near Narbethong, just outside of Marysville, (the car you see here is mine), and as it was raining I made the mistake of wearing gumboots. I don't recommend wearing gumboots hiking up a mountain - all that slipping and sliding! Nearly did my ankles in! But I made it. Coming back down - I slipped and slid on my rear end - not a very comfortable method of descending I must say.☺

And the wildflowers - absolutely beautiful. Alpine Mint Bush Prostanthera cuneata was everywhere. And the smell of Eucalyptus was gorgeous as you hear the sound of birds as they twittered and trilled and called.

But all this was to change.
Fire is, and can be, our friend. Fire helps us keep warm during winter - snuggling up in front of an open fire, warming your toes. Fire can cook our food for dinner, and fire can also boil the water for cups of tea and coffee.

But when fire rages through the bush and ravages everything in its wake, it is no longer our friend - it becomes a destroyer. Instead of falling snow, it rained fire on 7th February, 2009. The temperature was 46.4º C (115.52º F) with winds up to 150 kmph.

An eerie silence surrounded us as we drove up the mountain on Tuesday. The higher you ascend, the more sombre it becomes. We stood in a barren, desolate wasteland - the silence was deafening. There is no birdsong because there are no birds. Most of the trails and hikes are closed. I looked to where I judged the start of my hike to be and everywhere is blackened, burnt out lifeless trees. The ground a littered mess of black and twisted tree limbs. And I felt saddened and somewhat depressed at this destruction - what makes it worse, is these fires were deliberately lit.

The photo to the left is a close up of where the shelter block was. There were lovely cottages, green if I remember correctly - all gone. The only building left is the Lake Mountain Information Centre/ Bistro/Cafe you see in the top right-hand photo. The only place you can walk is around the concreted parking area, or to the right and slightly behind the Cafe.

The photo on the right-hand side is that which is in the upper photo to the right of the Bistro/Cafe.

Ninety-five per cent of Lake Mountain was burnt at high fire intensity. It was said the tempereature of these bushfires was between 1400 - 1600 degrees. Mountain Ash and Alpine Ash are killed by fire - they have no fire defence other than the seed, so they must regenerate from the ground up.

Quote for today: And where two raging fires meet together, they do consume the thing that feeds their fury. - William Shakespeare

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants


Ben Nakagawa said...

What a sad damage. I hope it recovers well as before or even better.
I've heard some of the trees/plants in OZ need a bush fire to re[produce self. nature is powerful and often fascinating.

Happy New Year!

Small City Scenes said...

Wow what a tragedy.

Wishing you much happiness in the upcoming year......and no fires. MB

Jilly said...

Oh my goodness how sad, how tragic. I hope this place gets restored. I lived thru a bushfire in Tasmania and am not likely to ever forget it.

Wishing you and yours all the very best for 2010 - and NO bush fires.

Kalyan said...

This is a touching post...Hope everything returns to its past form...Wishing you a very Happy New Year!

Gordon said...

A touching post indeed; great before and after shots really highlight the changes.

Hilda said...

2009 truly was a year full of disasters for so many countries. It was just awful and I am glad to see it go. I really pray that 2010 will be a much better year for all of us.

pusa said...

nice before and after pic to show the changes.
happy new year to you and your family

brattcat said...

This is a heart wrenching interpretation of change, BG. It takes the land a long time to recover from such devastation, but it does eventually come back. May 2010 be more gentle on the land and on you.

Unknown said...

Great post and great photos too, but so sad...
Happy New Year!

Halcyon said...

These are rather sad changes. Hope 2010 will be better.

Happy new year!!

Three Rivers, Michigan said...

The shocking and terrible changes that nature can bring without warning; fire the destroyer. But now it is time for regrowth and renewal, and I hope it is so for you in 2010.

Three Rivers Daily Photo

Lowell said...

Omigod! That is such a sad story! Fire is so devastating and so totally destructive! Perhaps over the years, the area will be restored to a semblance of its former glory?

Blossom Flower Girl, I want to thank you so much for your kind comments and good wishes! They have meant a lot.

We're still amidst the mess of unpacking and selling our former home, so I'll be posting and commenting only occasionally for a time.

But I wanted to thank you and wish for the very best in this New Year!

Gerald (SK14) said...

I think fire is what frightens me more than anything else - you do well to document all this - best wishes for whatever 2010 brings.

Julie said...

excellent post for the theme day of changes. your narrative is excellent and provides such life to what existed before the fire. such dramatic change from a fire. Happy New Year and I wish you many photographic opportunities in 2010.

Unknown said...

Was a sad event. Thanks for sharing this.

BTW - have fun in Malaysia.

AB said...

Wow, nature can be harsh!

IamMBB said...

Sad images. And yet, having seen firsthand, the awesome regenerative powers of nature in Yellowstone National Park after the fires there, I have hope that, should you return in a year, you will find a yet again altered landscape awaiting you.

Melbourne Daily Photo

Hello, I created this blog because Melbourne is my city and I want people to see what a beautiful place it is. So come with me on a journey of discovery as we traverse the dining precincts, the culture, the laneways and hidden gems that make Melbourne marvellous.