Volunteer firefighters and their value

volunteer firefighters at a bushfire

Volunteer firefighters are a necessary part of the community here in Australia.


Because bushfires in Australia are a part of life in the summer. They can be caused by

  • a lightning strike,
  • by peoples’ carelessness,
  • or by that most despicable of creatures… the firebug.

Lightning and firebugs

The first is unpredictable, and the second – I would prefer not to say anything other than what I called those people before… the most despicable of creatures.

There is a ‘profile ‘a serial firebug here… https://www.theage.com.au/national/profile-inside-the-mind-of-a-firebug-20080113-ge6lnh.html

Our part: If we see something suspicious, call the police

approach of bushfite
(c) Christy-Lee Williams, 2019; Used by permission


Are you a smoker? Have you ever thrown away a cigarette and stood on it to put it out? They don’t always go out.

On a city street, chances are they will only be litter.

Annoying but they probably do not cause damage. In the bush though the smallest bit of heat can smolder and start a fire.

Unchecked it could become an inferno.

See last week’s post on how far the embers travel in advance of a fire.
Australia Burns

What about camping in the bush?

Ever done that? If it is in the period of a total fire ban, do you obey it? Do you even know about total fire bans and what they mean?

Even if there is not a total fire ban in place, if you cook where you are camping do you make sure any fire, or BBQ is completely out before you move away?

There are many ways to be careless when walking in the bush, all of us need to be aware of our actions… and the possible consequences.

Our part: Learn the rules and keep them.

By the way, the bush can be a small patch of bushland between suburbs. I remember a few years ago when a college and the college residences were under threat from a bushfire. There was a patch of bushland one side of the road, burning. The fire jumped the road and came perilously close to some of the college residences. The cause? A homeless man had been camping in the patch of bush.

Another type of carelessness

The people who do not move out of the way of emergency vehicles. Do you know there are rules about giving way to emergency vehicles – and penalties for not keeping those rules?


Then there is another kind… but is it carelessness or selfishness? The spectators who want to watch the drama unfold.

These people put themselves in the way of the firefighters, hampering them, and in many cases putting their own lives at risk. Watch it on TV. The media, who have permission to be there, know the rules and the conditions of the fire scene. They keep those rules, or if they don’t, will not be allowed at the next fire scene.

Our part: Keep out of the way, let the people do their jobs.

It is difficult enough for them without dealing with ignorance or selfishness.

One of the volunteer firefighters

Volunteer firefighter after her shift
(c) copyright. Christy-Lee Williams, 2019; Used by permission

What if this was your daughter?

Or son, boyfriend, father, mother, girlfriend, husband or wife. They risk their lives to save the properties of others. In some instances a firefighter has lost his/her own home while off saving the property of others. It has happened here in Western Australia… and, I guess, many other places.

From an article by the wife of a volunteer firefighter…

“I wonder if the Prime Minister has considered what would happen if the volunteers just decided not to go. Or what will happen when they are all exhausted, worn down, emotionally frayed and unable to go back. Of course they will have already gone back several times after they reach this point because there is nobody else to go.”
Used with permission. Full article here… https://smarterthancrows.wordpress.com/2019/12/10/no-scott-morrison-my-husband-does-not-want-to-be-fighting-fires-this-summer/?fbclid=IwAR2r_-Nj51JlLPXbfnqAzFmoCtinFVhDYDBDFHAVOXgnSfK_Cq9NKw9_qLs

She also mentions the reality all the family and friends of the firefighters face… the firefighter might not come home.

And that happened last week.

Two volunteer firefighters killed while fighting fires

This was in New South Wales, not here in Western Australia. However, most of us mourn over the cost they paid to be volunteers.


They were men with young children.

And if it is true that the Prime Minister said that they could choose not to go…

All I want to say is there would be little of Australia left without volunteer firefighters. These people have a sense of responsibility and community that would put many of our politicians to shame.

Fire truck and approaching bush fire
(c) copyright Christy-Lee Williams 2019; Used by permission

When I asked Christy about the time of day the pictures were taken, here is her reply…

“i went out there the first day (2.30-11.30) and again the second day (8.30 am – 8.30pm) so its both night and day”

Christy is a nineteen year old girl, she’s been doing this for four years that I remember. Her brother is also a volunteer firefighter. They follow the path set by their parents.

These are the heroes we should respect. Allow them to do their jobs… it may be YOUR home they protect next.

Bushfires are again devastating several States, and firefighters are exhausted.

Our part: Pray for them, and their families.


Note: All images in this post are copyright photographs taken by Christy-Lee Williams 2019 and are used by permission.

The Gallipoli – Asia Minor Connection

Statue of soldiers at Gallipoli

In the early stages of writing the Apostle John Series, I used to print out my research materials. Sometimes it has proved handy with a ‘hard drive’ failure. The other day I was hunting for something that wasn’t on my computer, so I went to my filing cabinet.
Guess what I found.
Of course, you cannot, and it was probably only interesting to me.
I found a laminated sheet showing Gallipoli right on the edge of the map I used for Hold the Faith. (For walking around the seven churches.)

What so interested me about Gallipoli?

Well, on the 25th April each year, it’s ANZAC Day.

Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations” and “the contribution and suffering of all those who have served”

Observed on 25 April each year, Anzac Day was originally devised to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli against the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

Wikipedia says it better than me. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anzac_Day

When I found the map showing Gallipoli in conjunction with the Roman province of Asia Minor I remembered I printed it out and laminated it for the Perth book launch of the first print edition of Hold the Faith. I put one on each side and laminated them together.

Gallipoli on the same map as the setting for the Apostle John Series

Being curious, I wondered what the history of the area was, other than the Roman occupation of the country, and the World War 1 battle.

“After Israel, Turkey has more biblical sites than any other country in the Middle East. For this reason Turkey is rightly called the Other Holy Land. Many Christians are unaware of Turkey’s unique role in the Bible because biblical reference works usually refer to this strategic peninsula, bounded by the Mediterranean, Aegean, and Black Seas, as Asia Minor or Anatolia. The land of Turkey is especially important in understanding the background of the New Testament, because approximately two-thirds of its books were written either to or from churches in Turkey. The three major apostle—Peter, Paul, and John—either ministered or lived in Turkey.”

Important - why?

Its strategic position was important to all who warred here. However, it was not called Turkey at the time of the battle of Gallipoli. Turkey was ‘formed’ in October 1923.

Part of what became Turkey was Thrace, which comprises southeastern Bulgaria (Northern Thrace), northeastern Greece (Western Thrace) and the European part of Turkey (Eastern Thrace.)

 I discovered ‘Spartacus’ was from Thrace.

If you are too young to have seen the movie Spartacus, this is what it is about, well, ‘film license’ of course.

“A Thracian by birth, Spartacus served in the Roman army, perhaps deserted, led bandit raids, and was caught and sold as a slave. With about 70 fellow gladiators he escaped a gladiatorial training school at Capua in 73 and took refuge on Mount Vesuvius, where other runaway slaves joined the band. After defeating two Roman forces in succession, the rebels overran most of southern Italy. Ultimately their numbers grew to at least 90,000. Spartacus defeated the two consuls for the year 72 and fought his way northward toward the Alps, hoping to be able to disperse his soldiers to their homelands once they were outside Italy.”
Read more here: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Spartacus-Roman-gladiator


“Thrace was united as a kingdom under the chieftain Sitalces, who aided Athens during the Peloponnesian War, but after his death (428 B.C.) the state again broke up. By 342 B.C. all Thrace was held by Philip II of Macedon, and after 323 B.C. most of the country was in the hands of Lysimachus, a general of Alexander the Great. It fell apart once more after Lysimachus’ death (281 B.C.), and it was conquered by the Romans late in the 1st century B.C. Emperor Claudius created (A.D. 46) the province of Thrace, comprising the territory south of the Balkans; the remainder was incorporated into Moesia. The chief centers of Roman Thrace were Sardica (modern Sofia), Philippopolis (Plovdiv), and Adrianople (Edirne).”

The region benefited greatly from Roman rule, but from the barbarian invasions of the 3d century A.D. until modern times it was almost continuously a battleground. As mentioned before, it was a strategic area controlling significant land and sea borders. The area benefited from its strategic importance on the main route between Europe and Asia, as well as from its control of the shipping route from Crimea.

Why were the ANZACs at Gallipoli?

The Gallipoli Campaign of 1915-16, also known as the Battle of Gallipoli or the Dardanelles Campaign, was an unsuccessful attempt by the Allied Powers to control the sea route from Europe to Russia during World War I.

The winners of the Gallipoli battle

The Ottoman Empire.

The death toll was high for all combatants.

Nowadays, both the Turkish dead and the ANZAC dead are recognized at the dawn service in Gallipoli. 2018 was the 103 anniversary.

Gallipoli - 3 nation's flags

Over the centuries how much blood has been shed in that region?

A sobering thought.




Leave Schapelle Corby alone!

Kerobokan prison where Schapelle Corby served time
Kerobokan prison, Bali

I turned on the TV last evening (Saturday) to watch the evening news and thought my clocks must be wrong. I changed channels. The media circus was on all of them. Schapelle Corby had fulfilled her parole period in Bali and had to go through the hoops to be deported. It was apparently the end of a ‘special broadcast.’

My first thought?

Will the media never learn?

The police had to clear the media out of the way in order to lead Schapelle to the waiting transport. (I don’t know how many times that part was re-shown while I prepared the evening meal.)

My thoughts were of the media frenzy that – depending on how you see it – either led to Princess Diana’s death in that Paris tunnel, or made her life extremely difficult even when she was no longer an in-law to the British royal family.

When the last night’s evening news did come on it was more of the same about Schapelle Corby… except now the media were pursuing the convoy of police vehicles transport this woman.

If you have been living in Australia for the last twelve years or more, it would have been very hard to miss all the media ‘blast’ about Schapelle Corby.

Quote from ABC News…

“Ms Corby was arrested in 2004 carrying more than 4 kilograms of marijuana in her boogie board bag and returns to Australia as a convicted drug trafficker who has served her jail time.

One of Ms Corby’s key defences put forward by her legal team and supporters was that corrupt baggage handlers had placed the marijuana in her bag.”

It is more than twelve years since then. Whether guilty or not she served the sentence.

Leave Schapelle Corby alone!

Stalk some criminals!

I remember after the divorce between Princess Di and Prince Charles, when she was still being hounded – I said to my husband, “Why don’t they just leave her alone?!”

We were in a supermarket waiting in a checkout queue at the time.

He pointed at the variety of magazines on display there – all with a picture of Princess Diana on it. He replied, “When people stop buying the magazines and wanting to read about her.”

He was correct. We are to blame.

For the media to leave Schapelle Corby alone, we must leave her to piece together a life again and stop buying the papers or magazines.


Are we any different from the people who went to see the Christians torn by lions in the arena? Sometimes I wonder.