Community spirit brings new life

By Dick French

Posted in Culture

The Brown family – Andrew and Sandy, and their two children, Katie and Joshua – are members of Hamley Bridge Uniting Church who live on a 75-acre local property named “The Hideout”.

On 25 November in 2015, the Browns found their property in the path of the Pinery Bushfire. The fire came within a foot of the family’s timber-framed house, but left it unscathed. Their five-acre grove of native pines, however, was not spared. The grove, which had protected the family home from strong winds and had provided shelter, was completely burnt to the ground.

This was a big blow to the family and their property, which houses four horses and part of which is share-farmed. Getting things back to normal was also difficult – Sandy is kept busy with her work as an equine vet nurse, and Andrew is a fly-in fly-out employee at Paraburdoo mine in the Pilbara region, where he works to a seven-in seven-out roster.

The loss of the scrub at The Hideout was noted by Hamley Bridge minister Rev Phil Marshall. He raised the issue with church member Dick French, who has been a grower for Trees for Life for many years. It was decided that this year his plants would go to renewing The Hideout. 

Sunday 16 July was the planting day, and 34 people of all ages rugged up and endured the strong wind to enthusiastically carry out the planting task. Over 700 seedlings were planted!

The support of the church body and members of a local craft group that use the church hall was really wonderful. A scrumptious meal of homemade soups and a barbecue around a smoky fire capped off the planting day. The rain held off until the following day when the job was completed with guards around all of the plantings.

Plants grown through Trees for Life have been planted throughout the Hamley Bridge district over a 35 year period. Although the Pinery Bushfire raged through many of these revegetated areas, many of the areas have since regenerated. 


Photos (clockwise from top left): Lachlan (19 months old) with Grandma Helen; Sandy and Andrew Brown with their children, Kate and Josh; Joe 89, prepares guards; Andy surveying planting site.


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Comments (2)

  1. Janeen Henschke 02 august 2017, 17:01 Link
    Having been born at Clare, lived at Farrel Flat, then Wasleys for 7 years and at Smithfield Plains for 8 yrs before marriage and now living at Munno Para for nearing 40 years, I love the resilience of country people and how there always seems to be some one within a persons community that can help after a major event. Thank you to Dick French from Trees for life. 'We' have been involved with this organisation since the early 1980's as a close friend of ours propagated trees from seed and cuttings. We have a gum tree that Kel gave us in 1990 one that our youngest son & he had propagated and love........Thank you to those who have helped because of the Pinery Fire.
    1. Janice Merritt 10 august 2017, 14:46 Link
      So good to hear of a community working together to support members who have suffered loss and in caring for the enviroment. This is the Church at work as it should be, Thanks to all who took part and to Trees for Life who do a marvellous job.