Aerial footage of the aftermath of the Woolooga fire.
Aerial footage of the aftermath of the Woolooga fire. Philippe Coquerand

CARNAGE: 60 cattle, horses dead on one farm, 200 missing

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

WE RETURNED to Woolooga on Sunday to inspect our house.

It is a landscape of massive destruction, scorched and totally blackened landscape.

Our neighbour has lost kilometres of fencing, and a guesstimate of 60 dead stock at this stage.

He was still looking for another 200 late Sunday. There are a hundred stories to be remembered.

DESTRUCTION: Bradley Pike and Wayne Staib are working to fix their property after the Woolooga inferno.
DESTRUCTION: Bradley Pike and Wayne Staib work to fix their property after the Woolooga inferno. Philippe Coquerand

It is nearly 60 years since such a fire ravaged Woolooga, again in drought. A question asked on the ABC was the aboriginal meaning of the name of the town.

Research on Google refers to the Kabe (sic) word "wuilu” as the origin, translated to "place of smoke”.

Perhaps it is the shape of the valley, the prevailing winds which feeds such a fire.

I would particularly like to mention Glen Jenkins.

The house getting moved to higher ground by the two trucks during the raging fire.
An historic Woolooga house is moved to higher ground by two trucks during the raging fire. Acacia Vale Homestead

With so many units which were not local in attendance, and scattered roads, it was in many cases Glen being a "scarlet pimpernel... we saw him here, we saw him there” as he raced to direct units down unfamiliar laneways.

"There's a house down there, two down this road.”

Of course, he was not the only one, but he is one I know saved our house, and was alone with Tom Jones as fire swept both down the road and from behind his two houses.

Aerial footage of the aftermath of the Woolooga fire.
Aerial footage of the aftermath of the Woolooga fire. Philippe Coquerand

So a thank you to all wherever you fought, firies both town, rural and visitors, the homesteaders, the community, the Salvos.

It was really very scary.

There is one group often overlooked, and that is the employers.

Rural fire squads are manned by volunteers, so thank you to the employers for not giving a second thought to release their personnel.

I come from flood country in northwest New South Wales, and been through so many it was manageable...except for the mosquitoes, and only one main fire in the Pilliga.

That was enough. So there will be tears, and nightmares, and the loss of stock and beloved horses, and then reality.

But it will be Woolooga again.

G. Penrose,

Woolooga