Laurieton United Services Club acts as evacuation centre for Camden Haven residents

Reaching out: The Camden Haven community did itself proud on Friday night. Photo courtesy Rob Dwyer

Reaching out: The Camden Haven community did itself proud on Friday night. Photo courtesy Rob Dwyer

Keep up to date with the bushfire situation with our rolling coverage

Twelve hundred people flocked to the Laurieton United Services Club at the height of Friday night's emergency warning as bushfires threatened the southern end of the local government area.

As a shelter from the threat, there were also some 130 animals including lizards, birds, dogs and cats.

Many had bunkered down for the night, expecting to stay for the long haul, said the club's secretary manager Rob Dwyer.

"What unfolded last night (November 8) was a fantastic attribute to this community," he said.

"Under trying conditions they came together for the benefit of everyone.

"Our community and staff did a wonderful job last night.

"We had residents from Kew, Kendall, Dunbogan, Laurieton and Johns River here.

"The camaraderie among everyone was really quite special," he said.

Mr Dwyer said that by around 8.30pm, there was concern for Dunbogan residents that the southerly change could continue to push through the peninsula.

The RFS then advised residents in the Kew and Kendall areas that they could return home if they wanted as long as they had emergency plans in place.

"That dropped the numbers at the club down to around 600 while more people continued to leave at various stages through the night," Mr Dwyer said.

"One of the nursing homes brought their residents here while we still had around 250 people staying here at 4am.

"We had people sleeping in every room, and again, the camaraderie was really good.

"Once daylight hit, many residents had a bit of a confidence boost - and less anxiety - and returned to their homes.

"These residents were advised about the need to consider staying because of the emergency warning was still in place."

Staff from community of justice and department of community services were at the club throughout the night.

Mr Dwyer praised the RFS volunteers and others fighting the fires saying "they have done a fabulous job".

All together: Rob Dwyer shared some of the photos from Friday night.

All together: Rob Dwyer shared some of the photos from Friday night.

Leave early

Dunbogan couple Steve and Dale Allen said they were pleased to have listened to the early warning advice.

"We just got a message to leave and took that advice onboard," they said.

Prior to leaving their home, the couple walked to the beach where they realised the significance of the situation.

"We packed up the car and arrived at the club before returning home to pick up the caravan," Mr Allen said.

"We kept up to date with all the emergency information.

"There were a lot of elderly people - some in their pyjamas - at the club while there were lots of people with their animals too.

"It was a bit like Noah's Ark," Mrs Allen said.

The couple have been in contact with their neighbours, some of whom decided to stay in their homes.

"But I think we did the right thing by leaving," Mr Allen said.

"You can stay and leave it too late to leave. Being overly cautious is not a problem.

"I think that if the RFS tells you to leave, you should follow that advice."

The couple plan to meet up with friends in Laurieton to wait out the time before they return home.

How it changed: Brilliant one day. Photo courtesy Steve and Dale Allen.

How it changed: Brilliant one day. Photo courtesy Steve and Dale Allen.

Not quite as good the next. Photo courtesy Steve and Dale Allen.

Not quite as good the next. Photo courtesy Steve and Dale Allen.

More on the bushfires:

While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox from the Port Macquarie News. To make sure you're up to date with all the news, SIGN UP HERE.

This story Camaraderie on show as club comes to aid of its community first appeared on Port Macquarie News.

Comments