On the weekend before last I had driven with my dog to the beach and on returning home took a detour down Thompsons Rd where I understood there had been heavy loss though the fire tragedy. I began to notice a burning smell in my car, which initially I thought was left over from the fires, but when I stopped at the T-junction my motor stopped. The smoke that was escaping was all mine as I discovered when I lifted the bonnet. Within minutes cars were stopping to offer me assistance including Tathra surf lifesaving volunteers on their way home from being on duty. They insisted on staying with me till formal help arrived.
But most amazing was the arrival of the Team Rubicon fellas and gal, who had noticed my predicament on a trip with rubbish to the tip, and offered help. Five of them pushed my car off the road to a safer position. One of them, Mick, stayed with me for some time till NRMA arrived. Some three hours from the breakdown I was more or less mobile again, it was a damaged radiator from a previous incident.
But what all this told me was of that alive and well community spirit in Tathra. In a way I was fortunate to benefit. Especially so as it introduced me to an amazing voluntary organisation called Team Rubicon Australia of whom I hope to learn more.
Ross Williams, Kalaru
To the residents of Tathra, we want you to know that our hearts are with you at this awful and challenging time. But we know as the tight knit and loving community you are, you will get through this and be stronger than ever. We can’t wait to holiday with you again soon. Having been evacuated from Tathra Beachside in the afternoon of Sunday March 18, we have a few people we would like to thank. This starts with the staff at Tathra Beachside, as they made the call to evacuate everyone in such a timely and professional manner, getting everyone safely out of the park and on to the beach.
Our next person is the gentleman who drove us out of there! We didn’t have the time nor common sense to ask his name at the time, but he left his own house without knowing its fate and drove at least two families to safety in Bermagui. As well as using his vehicle, he also offered any water he had as well as muesli bars for our small children. We were one of the last groups to leave the end of the beach, he drove a white “troopie”, my husband offered him plumbing services, and he is a resident of Tathra – if anyone is able to identify this man, please get in contact with me as I would love to thank him personally! Or if you are reading this and it is you, you literally saved us and we can’t thank you enough!
Once safely at the refuge centre in Bermagui, the entire township rallied around us and came to our aid in every way possible, and they are the unsung heroes to us. We’d like to thank Woolworths who were there within 10 minutes of us arriving with water and fruit to begin with, followed by nappies and other personal care items. The Bermagui Surf Life Saving Club was set up as our refuge centre and as well as looking after us physically and emotionally, they also put on a sausage sizzle and kept us fed. The Country Club put on a dinner for everyone free of charge, and that was one more support offered that removed so much stress.
Bermagui, you are such a special town. Thank you for doing everything you did for us and everyone affected, you are the type of people who restore faith in human kind.
Our last thank you, and it is the most important to us, was the hospitality and support given to us by two very special people, Ray and Caro Tolley. They took us into their home as strangers, and wrapped us in their love, compassion and support. Our girls felt completely at ease, and saw them as pseudo grandparents I’m sure. We cannot thank Caro and Ray enough, and if you ever need anything particularly if you’re ever in Melbourne, please make us your first port of call.