We had decided to go to South Australia. Drive the 8 hours to take Mum and Dad back home and then head to the Adelaide Hills. Not the greener forested areas around Stirling or Aldgate but the dryer region behind Mount Barker toward Strathalbyn. I was interested in the large number of stone ruins.
Stone fences, outbuildings, humble cottages built by the early settlers in the mid 1800s. The rock used for these buildings was easily sourced, lying around the paddocks after the trees were cleared. I can image the hopes and dreams of these families moving to Australia from England, Ireland, Scotland and Germany, to start a new life in a land of possibility.
But wondered how on earth they really survived this harsh place with little water, persistent drought and menacing fires.
Or when they made the choice to leave, abandoning their farms when the winter rains didn’t come and the water tanks remained empty.
I chanced upon a cemetery and the bleak headstones reminded me of the brutal realty of life and death…here was someones much loved ‘Dear Little Lily’
Or of Charlotte who, at 20 months didn’t survive the grueling sea voyage.
And Annie, about to begin adulthood, but whose life was cut short. Who was the grieving family she left behind? What was her story?
Was this her house? So beautifully constructed, almost untouched… as if the family had only just walked off.
We had been driving around the country side and noticed a plume of smoke in the distance. Not surprising on this unbearably hot and windy Australian summer’s day. We had been away from internet access, oblivious to the outside world. My phone began to beep, we were back in range and friends were asking if we were ok? I hadn’t read a paper, watched TV. What were they talking about? The car radio told us fire was raging through the Adelaide Hills. We were miles away, safe…but hundreds of residents around the north eastern part of the hills were not.
That night the cool change had eased the inferno conditions of that disastrous day. The smoke filling the air produced a magnificent sun set. A cruel beauty.
I turned the TV on. Firefighters were hoping to get the blaze in the North Eastern part of the hills under control.
200 families displaced, 12,000 hectares burnt, over 20 homes destroyed, farm animals and pets lost.
Our thoughts are with the people of the Adelaide Hills.
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The Lost Woman series follows the sexy adventures of Christina as she makes her way through a world of new media, design, fashion, travel, and … men.
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