Just before Christmas, as the bush fires crept ever closer to Blackheath and we all suffered in the heatwave, I photographed a little tractor and water tank in Wentworth Street. I assumed it must be someone’s home fire protection unit. Mind you, I did wonder about the watering can….maybe it was for putting out small spot fires?
It wasn’t until mid January that I discovered the full story, courtesy of Jennie Curtin’s great article in The Blue Mountains Gazette.
So it turns out that the owner is a true local hero…..Dave Downey. Dave has a bore on his property, enabling him to circumvent the current water restrictions. Throughout November and December he made it his mission to keep the village plants alive, making ‘Doctor’s rounds’ every three days.
Remember how appalling the smoke haze was in our almost deserted village? Plus, we were all worried sick about our houses being destroyed. It was so very stressful.
Imagine how much more depressing it would have been if all the community gardens had turned brown and died.
When my partner and I were in Sydney recently we took the tram out to Randwick. We were both shocked by the number of dead and dying plants along the route, unable to cope with an early summer of heat, smoke and lack of water. What a shame.
We are now enjoying blessed, steady downpours in Blackheath, but we need to clone the lovely Dave and send him everywhere next time we endure these conditions.