Not Very Byron!

Post by Prue with thanks to Fiona Hunter

“As there were so many of them I resigned myself to locking ourselves on the property for the night, rather than draw further attention.”

You may remember our interview with Fiona Hunter back in 2011… well, at a recent haircut appointment with Fi, I learned of her horrendous New Years Eve. It was jaw droppingly horrendous and I felt very strongly that it needed to be heard. Reluctantly Fi agreed and provided the following account of her 2013 New Years Eve  in ‘paradise’.

As residents of Melaleuca Drive (near BP Ozigo), we are naturally concerned about the threat of bushfires. This threat was close to being realised on New Year’s Eve.

Our lovely neighbours kindly let friends of friends – young people from Sydney I believe – camp on their property for a couple of days over New Years. Access to this paddock was via our road. Harmless enough, you would think, until this road was posted on facebook as the place to camp for New Year.

At 6.45am on New Years Eve I drove to town and counted ten vehicles parked along the road. As it is often a campsite for two or three vans/cars, I accepted the inevitable increase in number for this time of the year.

On the drive home I pulled over and spoke to four girls, mentioning that the rubbish around their vehicles was really bad and I hoped they would take it with them. I also pointed to the evidence of a bushfire along our road, caused by a camp fire in November. I expressed my safety and rubbish concerns in a polite manner.

Thirty minutes later I ventured into work along the bike path. As the path was crowded, I needed to (respectfully) ring my bell on a few occasions to navigate my way through the layers of people. It wasn’t fun being told to f..k off and ride on the grass. Lovely. Nice way to start my day.

When I returned home late that afternoon, our road was full of cars and people sitting around drinking. The amount of rubbish was increasing. A young man, about my stepson’s age, yelled out ‘Hey you in the red dress…show us your tits’, much to the amusement of all. It was unpleasant and upsetting to say the least.

I told him to pick up his rubbish and leave our road and continued my ride home.

As there were so many of them I resigned myself to locking ourselves on the property for the night, rather than draw further attention. It was too late to do anything else.

The next day the lovely neighbours and I spent a long time cleaning the road. They were definitely not to blame for the situation that arose. A lot of people had rubbish to deal with… we overfilled a backhoe.

The situation that scared me the most is best highlighted by the attached images…

tent fire_02 tent fire_03

… a gas canister in the middle of a mattress with the tent all burnt out. This was so dangerous and I wonder if anyone presented to the hospital with burns from that event.

I am apprehensive about what might happen on the Australia Day weekend as the majority of the cars had QLD number plates. Will they be back for that weekend? My partner is not coming away with me on a planned trip as we fear they will be back, and if we are not home, who knows what will happen. I don’t have all the answers but I would definitely like to see barriers on our road to avert a potential fire disaster.

Fiona Hunter