Pappinbarra bush fires: Rob Hamilton was awed by community spirit

REMEMBERING AN UNFORGETTABLE WEEK: Rob Hamilton opened up the Timbertown Motel to people affected by the Pappinbarra bush fires.
REMEMBERING AN UNFORGETTABLE WEEK: Rob Hamilton opened up the Timbertown Motel to people affected by the Pappinbarra bush fires.

The terrible bush fires at Pappinbarra brought out an incredible community spirit across the Hastings.  Timbertown Motel’s Rob Hamilton was one of those who gave generously, and he will never forget that stressful week, this time last year.

Jaci Parker and her dog Ruby took refuge at Wauchope Showground during the Pappinbarra bush fires of February 2017.

Jaci Parker and her dog Ruby took refuge at Wauchope Showground during the Pappinbarra bush fires of February 2017.

“We were sitting out at our property in Beechwood, watching embers flying across.  It was intensely hot, very dry and windy – perfect conditions for a horrible outcome,” said the former Wauchope Chamber of Commerce president.

As the fires blazed, Rob came back to the Timbertown Motel and through the Wauchope Gazette Facebook page, he offered rooms to people who needed somewhere to stay – a welcome offer for terrified and exhausted families.

I hope everybody is much more aware of the consequences of bush fires now.

Rob Hamilton

“We are really lucky that no lives were lost.  There were properties lost, and that’s really unfortunate, but I hope everybody is much more aware of the consequences of bush fires now,” he said.

Makeshift beds set up in Wauchope Showground hall during last year's bush fires.

Makeshift beds set up in Wauchope Showground hall during last year's bush fires.

Rob’s sons, Luke and Tim, are members of the Beechwood Rural Fire Service and they fought the blaze.  Some of their colleagues stayed in the motel.  Rob recalls that the community support was amazing.

“People were making donations at the Wauchope Showground.  People were offering houses and caravans.  They raised money for those who had lost their homes.

Firefighters tackle the Pappinbarra bush fires.

Firefighters tackle the Pappinbarra bush fires.

“A community-minded area is a great place to live.  The people of Wauchope, Beechwood, Pappinbarra and around the Hastings rallied around to help.  It was awesome,” he said.

This story Awesome community response to Pappinbarra fires first appeared on Wauchope Gazette.

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