26 Jan 2016

I smell something burning

As I called my dog in last night I smelled bushfire.

I assumed the wind might have picked up the smell from one I knew to have burned about 50 kilometres away. Actually it was all the way across the sea from Tasmania, 400 kilometres away, and a haze came with it this morning and choked the city.
Some people made triple zero calls (the equivalent of 911).

With something like 70 fires, 68 thousand hectares of world heritage wilderness has gone up in smoke in Tasmania. It's looking like a generational event.
Closer to home the fire that closed a stretch of the Great Ocean Road around Christmas is still burning. The Bush canopy prevents water bombing from reaching it.

But today's Australia Day... and people enjoy their public holiday. And debate what the day even means.

Effectively it's an anniversary in search of a country that even connects to it. Perhaps someday the self-conscious vagueness, the day-off-for-a-day-off will be seen itself as what life in modern Australia actually is. Like a contented shrug, 'but mind the heat'.


  1. Happy Australia Day, Magpie. Those damed fires are bad this year.

  2. Good luck with the brush fires, Magpie. Most of our holidays have become a reason for a three day weekend. Probably another sign of the end of empire.

  3. Thanks guys.
    We organise our holidays poorly.
    If the date falls on a weekend, we may not get an extra day off at all.
    Australia Day is probably among the most hollow of national holidays – it doesn’t have the atmosphere of Easter or Christmas, nor the emotion of ANZAC Day. It’s just sort of there - a cause for debates over history and national identity more than anything else.