A team of volunteers that draws members from around the country has returned to Tathra to help the town get back on its feet.
After the bushfire in Tathra and its district in March, 83 “greyshirt” volunteers with Team Rubicon visited the region for three weeks to assist the recovery efforts where they could, logging over 5300 hours and completing 123 requests for assistance with their labor estimated at a value of about $300,000.
They made a promise to return, which was fulfilled when the team came back for 10 days earlier this month.
Since arriving on September 7, team members have tidied up debris, cut down trees and done jobs requested by the community.
On Tuesday, the team was on the Tathra Headland with members of the Tathra Lions Club and Bega Valley Shire Council, taking out stumps, weeding and spreading mulch around from trees that had had been mulched in the area.
It was work that needed to be completed ahead of a planned community planning day, the details of which will be announced in the future.
“The headland is an iconic site and has a very high cultural value so having the manpower to come in and do the works is fantastic,” council’s natural assets officer Andrew Morrison said.
Back for the second time, Team Rubicon member Alysha Springett - who comes from Umina Beach on the Central Coast - said it had been amazing returning to Tathra to finish the work they had started.
“As a volunteer firefighter, unfortunately I have seen the devastation fires can cause,” she said.
“The Tathra community is extremely special. Everyone really banded together to support each other, showing incredible acts of kindness and true resilience. Tathra will always have a very special place in my heart.”
Team member Mike Kachyckyj of Batemans Bay had good memories of coming to the town for holidays and said it was a beautiful place.
“You can still see the beauty of it, but it’s got this level of devastation over it and that’s why we’re here, to bring back that beauty and rejuvenate the area,” he said.
Andy Francey of Canberra said he was interested in joining Team Rubicon, which unites the skills and experiences of Australian Defence Force veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams, as he worked as a paramedic.
“I like the idea that when in an emergency scenario, you come in, do as much as you can under the conditions, but you need someone to come in and finish up afterwards,” he said.
“You need someone to finish the job,” Mr Kachyckyj added.
Donations play a critical role in enabling Team Rubicon to deploy its volunteers in disaster response.
For more information, to register with the team or to donate click here.