Boy, 7, dies in NSW swimming tragedy; COVID warnings in place as people flock to beaches

A medical team was winched to the scene by helicopter before the boy was taken to Nepean Hospital by road.

NSW Ambulance duty operations manager Peter van Praag said paramedics worked tirelessly to treat the child before he was taken to hospital but he didn’t survive.

NSW Ambulance paramedics at the scene of the tragedy on Sunday. Credit:Nine News

“These sorts of jobs have a significant impact on all the emergency services involved, but none more so than the family, and our hearts go out them,” Inspector van Praag said.

“It is just so sad.”

He said it was a tragic reminder for people to take care near the water as the weather warmed.

“Nobody intends for these tragedies to happen, but that’s the thing about accidents – they happen in second – but the impact can remain for a lifetime,” he said.

COVID warnings as people hit the beaches

The emergency comes as people flocked to the state’s beaches and watering holes to enjoy the weekend’s fine conditions. NSW Health called upon the community to maintain vigilance and avoid crowds despite a run of eight days without COVID-19 transmission.

Coogee Beach in the eastern suburbs saw a sea of sunbathers, with others submerging themselves in the rock pool to cool off, as continued physical distancing, hand hygiene and testing is still encouraged.

Swimmers cooling off in the Coogee Beach rock pool during a spell of fine weather in Sydney.

Swimmers cooling off in the Coogee Beach rock pool during a spell of fine weather in Sydney.Credit:James Alcock

“Though there have been no locally acquired cases in NSW in recent days, now is not the time to drop our guard,” a NSW Health spokesperson said.

While the majority of the state experienced sunny weather and clear skies on Sunday, the high temperatures are expected to escalate on Monday, climbing up to 34 degrees in Sydney, 34.5 in Mascot, 39 in Parramatta and 41.5 in Penrith, the highest expected reading this season.

Weather bureau meteorologist Bimal KC said the hot, dry conditions were moving in ahead of a southerly cold front bringing “fresh and gusty winds”.

“We’re expecting shower and thunderstorm activity with the front,” Mr KC said, adding the forecast rainfall was expected to be just a few millimetres.


He said the change would bring minimum overnight temperatures to about 18 degrees in the Sydney basin ahead of milder temperatures and showers along the eastern part of the state, with the mercury staying in the low 20s during the middle of the week before climbing to 31 in Sydney on Friday.

Damaging winds were forecast for the state’s alpine region on Sunday night, with wind speeds reaching up to 120 km/h above 900 metres.

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Our Nobel Peace Prize win is an honor and a tragedy

Being selected to receive the Nobel Peace Prize is an honor and a humbling recognition of the critical work the World Food Program (WFP) is doing. But it is also impossible to celebrate. 

My colleagues and I are well aware that we are receiving this award only because hundreds of millions of people are at the brink of starvation, and we are striving to keep them alive. This will not change until we commit to finding political solutions to conflicts so people can rebuild their lives and livelihoods. 

While our world has been focused on the health aspects of COVID-19, hunger is the silent killer ravaging communities in the farthest corners of the globe. We don’t see these victims on the nightly news. We don’t keep a real-time tally of the lives lost. But this doesn’t make these mothers and fathers and children any less important, and it doesn’t minimize the grief of their families.

Despite our resolve to achieve zero hunger by 2030, the sad truth is that hunger has been rising over the past several years, and there is no end in sight. COVID-19 has only exacerbated an already bad situation. This Nobel Prize is a call to action at a critical time. COVID-19 is threatening to create a hunger crisis of biblical proportions—worse than anything we’ve seen in our lifetimes—unless we do something about it. This is not hyperbole; this is the blunt reality.

The impact of the coronavirus on world hunger is twofold. First, the virus is disrupting economies and supply chains, preventing access to food and limiting people’s ability to work. It is increasing conflict and violence, forcing many to abandon their land, homes, and jobs.

Second, COVID-19 is demanding government resources that might otherwise have gone toward fighting long-term global challenges related to nutrition, health, and education. Without immediate intervention, the number of chronically hungry people will continue to rise. COVID-19 is poised to set back the progress we have made against hunger by 15 years, according to WFP calculations.

The roughly $1 million that comes with the Nobel Prize will feed about 1.6 million people for a day. That’s far from enough. Despite the generosity of our current and past donors, we are well short of the resources we need to feed the growing number of people who need us. 

It is time for the private sector to join the fight. We need to raise $5.1 billion more now to feed the people affected by the ripple effects of the coronavirus crisis for the next six months. I’m asking the wealthiest individuals and corporations among us to answer the moral call to promote global peace and prosperity by putting their resources into the fight against hunger.

This is not someone else’s responsibility just because the worst of it is occurring on someone else’s soil. It is our collective responsibility. 

This is a pivotal moment in history, and it will either be one of our worst, or it will be one of our greatest. Despite the racial, political, religious, economic, and cultural divisions facing the U.S., we have an opportunity to come together in pursuit of an extraordinary goal. Food has long been one of the greatest peacebuilders in history. Maybe the peace and reconciliation we have been seeking starts with this. 

In December, I will accept this award in recognition of the staff—at the World Food Program and related NGOs—who put their lives on the line every day to bring food and assistance to hundreds of millions of hungry children, women, and men across the world. This is not an easy task. They serve in the most dangerous and desperate regions of the world and count on the integrity of their mission to keep them safe. Some of them have not made it back. 

We’re humbled by this incredible recognition, but we are cognizant of the enormous challenges that lie ahead. The job is far from over—but this, right now, can also be our finest hour. 

David Beasley is the executive director of the World Food Program.

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Panthers star reflects on brother’s tragedy

But those long journeys also turned out to be therapeutic given just a year earlier Jarred, Liam’s older brother, took his own life at the Falls Festival in Byron Bay. He was just 22.

There were no drugs involved. Maxine was in the supermarket when she received the call no parent should ever take.

Liam Martin will head into the grand final with thoughts of his late brother Jarred.Credit:Janie Barrett

Maxine then phoned Liam who can still hear his mother’s voice down the other end of the line.

“It’s my clearest memory and still rocks me to this day,” Liam told the Herald. “I was sitting at my dad’s place and he was having a nap. Mum rang and she was in hysterics. I went outside because I didn’t want him [Phillip] to wake up. I thought maybe she had had a car accident.

“I remember seeing my uncle walk up the driveway at that moment and mum said down the line, ‘Jarred’s dead’. I broke down, my uncle hugged me, then we had to go in and tell dad. It was the hardest thing. His mates found him. It was pretty rough.”

Liam has thought a lot about his brother in recent weeks. He was described as a “blond” who acted on impulse. He had a habit of stealing friends’ thongs. Random pairs are still often found where he is buried. Liam has always wondered if he knew what he knows now about mental health, maybe Jarred would still be alive.

Jarred (left) and Liam Martin did everything together.

Jarred (left) and Liam Martin did everything together.

Jarred, a talented footballer in the Canberra Raiders’ lower grades before two ACL injuries cruelled his own NRL dream, had a huge influence on Liam’s own career.

Jarred will not witness Liam play for the Panthers in Sunday’s grand final, but family will be there. It would understandable if Maxine couldn’t stop herself from giving Liam a giant squeeze and kiss after full-time at ANZ Stadium, despite the NRL’s biosecurity protocols.

The brothers did everything together.

Maxine recalled them doing chin-ups on the branch of a tree. And how they would get into shape using empty kegs from one of the local pubs, as well as left-over tractor tyres.

Country life ... Jarred and Liam Martin.

Country life … Jarred and Liam Martin.

Maxine, a school teacher in West Wyalong, said those long round trips to Penrith and back helped her and Liam cope with their loss.

“I don’t know whether you know but it’s easier to talk to boys when you’re side by side rather than in front of each other. I did that with Liam when we’d drive,” Maxine said.

Proud mum Maxine Martin with her "beautiful boy" Liam.

Proud mum Maxine Martin with her “beautiful boy” Liam.

“Our conversations were healing in a way. We’d talk a lot about Jarred.”

Maxine said this year had been the most challenging since Jarred’s death, because the COVD-19 pandemic and NRL’s biosecutiry protocols have stopped her spending time with her youngest. The family bought a cardboard cutout of Maxine when the season restarted, but Liam could never find her when he searched the empty venues after each game.

Fortunately Maxine will be there in the flesh, along with a decent entourage from the bush, when the Panthers chase their first title since 2003.

Such is Liam’s form, he might need to wait a little longer to get back home because of a NSW Origin call-up.

He often day-dreams about getting back to the Terminus Hotel in Temora and sharing a drink with another proud local and Penrith assistant Trent Barrett.

The local pre-school has put up a sign wishing Liam all the best. A school in West Wyalong filmed a video message for him on Thursday.


Liam, who got into the University of NSW to study Advanced Science, says he has struggles with anxiety – he once skipped an exam because he could not bring himself to leave the house – but knows a win over the Storm will mean so much to him and the Temora and West Wyalong communities.

Panthers teammate Billy Kikau has terrorised rival teams on the left edge, and Martin has provided little relief on the right side of the field.

Martin has an immense respect for “the ultimate professional” Cameron Smith “who has played more finals footy than I have career games”.

He also respects getting to play with a guy like James Tamou whom he grew up idolising play for NSW and Australia.

Martin is pumped. If only Jarred was along for the ride.

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AFL news 2020: Nathan Jones, wife, miscarriage, Jerri Jones, baby tragedy

The wife of AFL star Nathan Jones has opened up on the pain of suffering three consecutive miscarriages to raise awareness and help others who have suffered through the same trauma.

Jerri Jones, whose husband plays for Melbourne, uploaded an emotional Instagram post on International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, revealing she had endured her third miscarriage earlier this week.

“Today is International pregnancy & Infant Loss Memorial Day. 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage,” Jerri wrote. “I am 1 in 4.

“Although I’m usually a very private person, it seems fitting, on all days to share that this week I experienced my 3rd consecutive miscarriage and had a d&c today.

Preliminary Final

“Pregnancy loss can be very lonely and I hope by sharing part of our story this may help even one person feel less alone in theirs. I know that hearing other Women share their experiences has helped me immensely.”

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Covid? What covid? – A real-life Bollywood tragedy becomes a political farce | Asia

A fallen star. A villainous girlfriend. An outspoken heroine. Inept cops. Three-letter agencies. It’s a blockbuster

AsiaSep 17th 2020 edition

WHAT STORY should top the news? That covid-19 cases are rising by nearly 100,000 a day? That the economy shrank by a shocking 23.9% last quarter? Or perhaps that an increasingly bellicose China is massing troops on the border? No! Even with the darkest prospects in decades looming over India’s 1.3bn people, the spotlights of its main TV news channels have in recent weeks focused instead on the private lives of a clutch of Bollywood stars.

This great distraction began on June 14th, when the body of Sushant Singh Rajput, a 34-year-old actor, was found in his flat in Mumbai. The suicide provoked a media frenzy. Mr Rajput’s rise from the obscurity of Bihar, India’s poorest state, to screen fame as the hero of a biopic about a revered cricket captain was itself a filmi tale. His apparent slide into depression raised just the kind of questions about the underside of the film industry that India’s raucous chat shows and gossipy social media love to chew over.

Yet when an ambitious actress and members of Mr Rajput’s family began to air charges that the actor had been corrupted by an entourage of drug pushers, fleeced of his earnings and perhaps even driven to kill himself, the story took on a sinister hue. The more sensationalist news channels trained their sights on Rhea Chakraborty, a 28-year-old actress and Mr Rajput’s girlfriend, turning her into the villain of the piece. Politicians, too, swiftly spotted opportunities.

State elections in Bihar, to be held before December, represent the biggest political test for Narendra Modi, the prime minister, and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) since this year’s multiple crises began. The state is India’s third most populous, and is famed for the caste-infected complexity of its politics. The party’s strategists appear to have seen the actor’s suicide as a chance to pose as upholders of rustic Bihari virtue in contrast to the wickedness of Mumbai.

There are political stakes in the big city too. Promoting Kangana Ranaut, the actress who spoke out about celebrity drug culture, as a paragon of virtue, the BJP and its media toadies raised a ruckus about the supposed ineptitude of the city’s police. The subtext is that, since elections last year, Mumbai and its surrounding state of Maharashtra have been controlled by a coalition that includes former ideological allies and now bitter opponents of the BJP.

The Supreme Court waded into the affair, ordering the Central Bureau of Investigation, a national agency, to take over the Rajput case. Two more federal bodies, the Enforcement Directorate, which combats financial crimes, and the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), have launched their own investigations. The drug enforcers have been the fastest to concoct a case, arresting some 18 people, including Ms Chakraborty. She and her brother, also arrested, have been denied bail.

Mr Rajput’s relations have cheered the swift action. Yet to many, the campaign smacks of mob justice. And, just as Biharis are being told to take umbrage over Mr Rajput’s demise, many people in Ms Chakroborty’s home state of West Bengal have been disgusted by her persecution. The BJP is determined to wrest that state from opposition control in an election next year. Its strategy in the Rajput affair has certainly diverted public attention from the real and numerous problems facing India. But Mr Modi may come to regret its impact on Bengali voters. The drama, as Bollywood fans like to say, is not over yet.

This article appeared in the Asia section of the print edition under the headline “Covid? What covid?”

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Thousands of dying birds out West could reveal an even bigger environmental tragedy

Worn-down carcasses of violet-green swallows and other migratory birds have been found in New Mexico and other Western states. (Devon Yu/Deposit Photos/)

When Jon Hayes opened his email on September 9, he found a strange message waiting for him. His colleagues had been finding an oddly high number of bird carcasses, mostly of small species that migrate from the US to the tropics each fall. Two days later, he saw the birds himself while biking in Albuquerque. “I was amazed by the number of swallows that were dead at the side of the trail,” Hayes recalls. In a matter of hours, what seemed like an isolated event in southern New Mexico became national news.

Over the past week or so, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish has received close to 300 bird carcasses, says its spokesperson Tristanna Bickford. Most of them were collected by biologists at White Sands Missile Range—where the first bodies were found on August 20—and New Mexico State University (NSMU).

“This isn’t the kind of thing that anybody who works in this field has seen before,” Hayes, a former wildlife biologist and now the executive director at Audubon New Mexico, says. “Birds that are migrating are often stressed and exhausted. But that results in a few birds here and there dying; you don’t see thousands of them dropping dead.”

Ornithologists studying the mass die-off have pointed to the wildfires on the West Coast, an extreme cold front that pushed into New Mexico last week, and a persistent drought in the area as possible explanations for what’s going on. More generally, scientists have pointed out that these extreme weather events follow predictions of how climate change alters natural cycles. “This is one more sign of a planet and ecosystem in absolute distress,” Hayes says.

Although biologists aren’t sure of the actual avian death toll, they’ve estimated a figure in the hundreds of thousands. “Just by looking at the scope of what we’re seeing, we know this is a very large event,” NMSU ornithologist Martha Desmond said in an interview with CNN.

Most of the birds have been found in New Mexico, Colorado, and along the coast of California. But the event may be more widespread: People in 12 US states and five Mexican states have reported 538 dead birds to a public database specifically created to document the die-off. But even with that data, it’s impossible to get firm numbers, especially in sparsely populated areas and wildfire-evacuation zones.

That said, every new carcass provides a body of clues for the biologists investigating the event. Most of the recovered birds are migratory insectivores like swallows, wood-pewees, flycatchers, and warblers. Most were also in rough physical shape when they died, with “no fat reserves and barely any muscle mass, almost as if they have been flying until they just couldn’t fly anymore,” NMSU’s biologist Allison Sallas shared on Twitter. The few birds that have been recovered alive are largely lethargic, Desmond said in an interview with

Biologists suspect that the wildfires consuming the West Coast might have forced the birds to detour from their usual migration routes. While there are no major blazes in New Mexico, the state is suffering a drought, which may be depleting insect populations. “If [the birds] don’t have any food available, they will starve,” Desmond explained in the interview.

But it isn’t only that. The smoke, which has now reached the East Coast, could be harmful to wildlife. “You taste it; you smell it; you see it every morning when you wake up,” Hayes says. “It absolutely can affect those birds as well.” Decades of research show that poor air quality can cause respiratory distress and illness in birds, affect their reproductive success, elevate their stress levels, and alter their behavior. University of Wisconsin-Madison ecologist Olivia Sanderfoot told PopSci in an email that one 2002 study “suggested that smoke inhalation may compromise the ability of birds to escape during wildfire events.”

A cold front that hit New Mexico on September 8 might have been the final straw for the flight along the West Coast. “These birds are kind of on the edge of survival during migration,” Hayes says. “When you put a 95-mile-per-hour headwind in front of them, it’s gonna exhaust them.” Typically, birds are equipped to wing through cold air currents—but this time, the rough weather might have hit them “at the perfectly wrong time.”

Of course, the string of reasons behind the mass deaths is all still hypothetical. Biologists will only be able to give hard answers after they necropsy the carcasses at the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin. The analyses could take anywhere from two weeks to three months, Bickford from the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish says.

While bird die-offs do crop up now and then, they’re often linked to localized problems like pesticide spraying, new construction along migration pathways, and storm conditions. But the factors behind this calamity seem less contained. “It gets pretty scary when you think that this could become normal,” Hayes says. “Whether it’s a drought, extreme weather, or wildfires, all these [events] are likely to happen more often in a changing climate.”

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Tracey Wickham and Lisa Curry united after tragedy

The tributes for the Curry-Kenny family have come flooding in following the shock and tragic death of Jaimi Kenny on Monday.

A joint statement from Lisa Curry and Grant Kenny revealed their beloved oldest daughter Jaimi had died in hospital that morning.

Jaimi, 33, had “lost her battle with a long-term illness and passed away peacefully in hospital this morning in the company of loving family”. understands the 33-year-old had been receiving treatment for an eating disorder for years at Sunshine Coast private clinic End ED.

As the tributes came rolling in, one from a long-time rival in the pool stood out on social media.

Tracey Wickham and Curry were stars of the pool throughout the 1980s, winning more than 20 international gold medals combined.

Despite the Aussie duo dominating between the lanes, out of the pool their relationship was far from friendly with the frostiest moment coming ahead of the 1982 Commonwealth Games when Curry slow clapped her rival as she walked out to the pool.

But after the tragic announcement of Jaimi’s death, Wickham put their rivalry aside and reached out to her long-time opponent.

“Lisa, my heart breaks for you and your family,’ Wickham wrote on Curry’s Instagram.

“It’s a tragic time when losing a child. I can’t believe we both have lost our beloved daughters.

“God bless you and hoping everyone holds you tight. Big hugs … much love. Tracey.”

RELATED: Inside the ‘guarded’ Curry-Kenny family

RELATED: Heartbroken Olympian’s tragic message

Wickham sadly lost her daughter Hannah Ciobo in 2009 after a five-year battle with the rare disease, synovial cancer.

Hannah, 19, was first diagnosed with synovial sarcoma — a rare and aggressive cancer — in 2004 but beat it after several operations and rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. Sadly it returned for the final time in early 2009.

She died three hours after achieving her final wish as she married Tom O’Driscoll in a hospital wedding. The pair met two years earlier in a cancer ward.

Wickham said her daughter was in a hospital gown and on oxygen, but was aware of the ceremony, attended by 20 family and friends including Hannah’s dad and brother Daniel.

“There was love in her eyes,” she said.

“Tom was alone with her, and he saw her slip away.

“She was too young to die. Hannah was a fighter until the end, just like her mother.

“She passed away peacefully with family and friends.”

Curry thanked the outpouring of love from all corners after making the heartbreaking announcement of her daughter’s passing, while issuing advice to fellow parents in an Instagram post.

“Right now, go and give your children the biggest hug and tell them how much you love them, and do that everyday because you’ll never know if it’s the last day,” she wrote.

Sadly Curry was forced to hit out on social media when a dodgy fundraiser was set up by internet scammers.

“SOME PEOPLE !!! Someone has started a go fund me page on Mark Andrew Tabone FB page … this is NOT US,” Ms Curry wrote on Facebook on Tuesday.

“It’s also sending friend requests. PLEASE DO NOT OPEN ANYTHING FROM THIS FAKE ACCOUNT.”

Thankfully evidence of the dodgy fundraiser appears to have been wiped from the Donor Box site.

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Next generation of koalas returned to the forest after Peak View bushfire tragedy


September 05, 2020 13:15:31

Seven months after the Two Thumbs Wildlife Trust sanctuary at Peak View was destroyed in the summer’s tragic bushfires, koalas that were found struggling to survive in the charred forest are now ready to be released back into the wild.

ABC South East NSW: Vanessa Milton and Richard Snashall

Source: ABC News
Duration: 2min 49sec











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Rescued koalas returned to the wild after Peak View bushfire tragedy

When bushfires first broke out near the Two Thumbs Wildlife Trust sanctuary at Peak View in late December, James Fitzgerald spent his days firefighting and his nights rescuing and caring for injured wildlife.

When the fires flared again in late January he lost his home, his 1,800-acre sanctuary, and all of the animals in his care.

He searched the burnt forest for months, finding koalas in desperate need of help.

Dr Karen Ford from the Australian National University is part of a team of researchers, veterinarians, and volunteers who have been caring for 41 koalas rescued since the fires and closely monitoring their recovery.

“It has been a lot of feeding and cleaning cages, picking up poo, and cutting leaves — lots of cutting leaves,” Dr Ford said.

Dr Arianne Lowe checks young koala Amelia’s heart before she is released.(Supplied: Michael Weinhardt)

She has spent most days at the Two Thumbs sanctuary since the first koalas were released back into the wild in late May, fitting the koalas with GPS collars to track their movements.

“We want to look at what parts of the landscape they are using, whether they need to rely on some trees that still have intact canopy or whether they’re quite happy to move through the burnt areas,” Dr Ford said.

“That’s really important for us, knowing when it’s okay to release koalas back into burnt areas, and how many koalas a burnt landscape can support.

Woman standing in sparse forest looking up at tree thoughtfully.
ANU Research Fellow Dr Karen Ford watches as one of three koalas is released at Two Thumbs wildlife sanctuary.(Supplied: Michael Weinhardt)

Jessie, an adult female with a joey on her back, was found with the help of Bear the wildlife detection dog and Dr Romane Cristescu from the University of the Sunshine Coast.

On her first health check, an ultrasound revealed that she was also carrying a joey in utero.

“When Jessie first came in, she was very, very thin,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

“The vet had to warm her up, she almost died.”

Seven months on, Jessie is in good health, and her joey is almost ready to emerge from the pouch.

Before release, Karen Ford has applied a tracking collar and wildlife veterinarian Dr Arianne Lowe performed a health check.

She will be released with her two joeys and a young male who lost his mother in the bushfires, found with burnt hands and feet.

Small koala jumps out of a bag to climb the trunk of a eucalypt tree
Young koala Mark is released at Two Thumbs wildlife sanctuary.(Supplied: Michael Weinhardt)

A quarter of koala habitat in NSW — and 60,000 hectares of habitat around Peak View — was impacted in last season’s bushfires, but Dr Lowe is buoyant about the rescued koalas’ prospects for survival.

“Karen’s research is showing that the koalas are doing well in the remnant areas that were unburnt and in the burnt areas that are recovering,” she said.

“We want them to thrive, and they will. And if they need support, then we’re also there for them.”

‘Hazard reduction eaters’

The vulnerability of koalas in the face of drought and bushfires is well-recognised, but James Fitzgerald believes more consideration should be given to the role that native animals play in protecting the forest.

“It’s estimated that there were well over 10 million koalas in Australia before they were hunted for their furs in the early 20th century,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

“Koalas eat up to a kilo of eucalyptus leaf every day, that would have been two million tonnes per year of ‘hazard reduction eating’, feeding on the most explosively flammable part of Australian forests.

Small koala sitting in a leafy eucalypt tree, looking at camera with alert eyes.
Mark, the last koala rescued in April, has now been returned to the wild.(Supplied: Michael Weinhardt)

“We’ve also lost our ‘forest engineers’, the bandicoots and potoroos. They turn over the leaf litter and bark, and keep the forest floor moist — instead of this dry forest floor which is much more fire-prone.”

A tragic legacy

Among the rescued koalas in James Fitzgerald’s care are three adult males named after the three US firefighters, Ian McBeth, Paul Hudson, and Rick DeMorgan Jr, who were killed when their air tanker plane crashed shortly after dropping fire retardant on the sanctuary.

ground view of a destroyed and burnt out plane surrounded by burnt trees
The aircraft was being used to protect properties from the Good Good fire in Cooma.(Supplied: NSW Police)

“For those firefighters to come from the other side of the world to help us and then lose their lives, it’s a huge tragedy,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

Mr Fitzgerald now lives in a caravan, surrounded by a ‘ghost forest’ of burnt trees, focused on the task of rebuilding his sanctuary to support the koalas that survived the fires.

Man in checked shirt and cap standing in forest looking up with a bittersweet expression.
James Fitzgerald lost his life’s work when the Two Thumbs wildlife sanctuary was destroyed by bushfires in January.(Supplied: Michael Weinhardt)

“These koalas have been recognised as a nationally significant population, with strong genetics,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

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