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News of devastating bush fires in Australia is an annual event.  This year, fires sweeping Blue Mountains rural regions west of Sydney have claimed one life and 200 or so homes.  Part of the tragedy is that it is another four months to high summer when such natural disasters are typically anticipated.

Us Christchurch people are no strangers to natural disasters in the wake of seismic events destroying much of our city and thousands of homes.  But there are more reasons to feel for the Australians:

I have just heard the mayor of Katoomba on National Radio saying New Zealanders are not only “Our neighbours, they are also our mates.”

It is no surprise a contingent of Kiwi fire fighters is ready to go and help more than 2000 New South Wales counterparts who have been working around the clock over several days.

I have many a fond memory of the Blue Mountains and the train ride from Sydney.  It is a region of smaller, idyllic, towns, great walking trails and the principal centre at Katoomba, astride an impressive canyon.  A great place to go to when wanting to escape big, bustling, Sydney.  My most recent visit was when driving back to Sydney from Cowra.  I detoured for a coffee stop and to photograph the region’s well-known landmark, The Three Sisters, in afternoon light.  The towering rock features looked surreal.  The memory lingers….

Three Sisters