Stepping out with a camera: after the fire

I’ve had a few weekends free for the first time in years and have been cramming in a few photographic walks around my local area. I live near bush, rivers and creeks, and the ocean so there’s plenty to see.

My first trip was to a relatively disused railway station in the Royal National Park. A week prior there had been some bush fire hazard reductions (burn-offs) that went right up to the railway line. We’re expecting a fairly hot summer and last summer was quite wet so with all the lovely new growth currently drying out quickly, there’s lots of potential for bushfire over the next few months.

only trams from the nearby Tram Museum visit the railway station nowadays

The station was a 20-minute walk away from where I parked my car; that is if you’re not stopping every 30 seconds to take photos. It took me nearly an hour! Needless to say, visitors to the station are in passing only. There’s another nice walk quite nearby that overlooks the Hacking River – next time.

Deserted railway line

Rawson Parade is the grandly named firetrail that follows alongside the railway line. The trail is bumpy and not sealed but wide enough for a firetruck to drive along if necessary. It’s open for walking, jogging, bikes and, I suppose, horses only and is quite popular with all of those except maybe horses (at least, I didn’t see any riders within my hour and a half wander).

burnt out bush

I could walk to Rawson Parade from my house, but I’m incredibly lazy and didn’t fancy walking through quite so much burnt out bush. A taste was all I wanted. After all, I’ve lived in the area for most of my life and have been up close and personal with plenty of burning and burnt trees.

possibly the remains of a Kangaroo Tail
tree stump

Kangaroo Tails are a native grass type plant with long narrow and sharply pointy leaves, and have the flower stem growing from the middle. The stem grows quite tall and is usually black, hence, looking just like a kangaroo tail sticking up in the air, or a spear depending on which generation you’re from and how politically correct you are. The plants grow quite old and an advanced-age specimen is worth far more than I care to spend on a plant. Start thinking in the hundreds and you’d be close.

I have no idea what kind of tree produced this stump, but it’s bark had become an amazing, crackled patchwork with each section a different shade of brown.

While fire is generally seen as destroying, here in Australia, many of our native plants need the flames for the species to survive. Fire strips back the branches and leaves, removes the tangle of undergrowth and leaves behind the essence of the tree. A blackened form you’d think couldn’t possibly have survived the carnage. Until it rains.

Come next spring, these burnt offerings will be covered in new growth. Give it a few seasons and the casual observer might not even realise that fire had burnt an area out. I’ve seen the apparent devastation of fires much worse than these controlled burn-offs and watched, season by season, as it all grows back.

It seems that there is just no stopping nature.

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2 Comments

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  1. Why thank you! It’s all grown over now

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