For most of my life our family has been coming to Batemans Bay for our summer holiday. Our house is close to the beach, in the bush surrounded by large gum trees. It’s a lovely setting but a bad bushfire risk.

Circuit Beach NSW

This summer the fire danger period seems to have arrived earlier. As I write, fires are burning out of control just north of Batemans Bay and the Princes Highway, the main road from here to Sydney, is closed. Last weekend a fire came within a kilometre of Braidwood, a small town on the way to Canberra, and the highway to Canberra was closed.

BBay fire 2019

Bushfire map 2 December 2019 The map has no scale however the drive from Batemans Bay to Canberra is about 150 km or just under 100 miles.


In March 1965 Batemans Bay was threatened by bushfires. I was too young to remember. In those days we used to rent a house for the holidays;  this was before my parents had built a beach house of our own.

BBay fire 1965

Batemans Bay facing crisis (1965, March 9). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 – 1995), p. 1. Retrieved from


In 1971 there were bushfires again, but we were overseas. Our house came close to being burnt down. The Briggs and Bailey holiday cottages are very near my parents’ house.

BBay fire 1971

Bushfire service in Letters to the Editor (1971, October 7). The Canberra Times, p. 2. Retrieved from

BBay fire cycads

Fires sweep areas of Queensland and NSW (1971, October 5). The Canberra Times, p. 3. Retrieved from (These days it is suggested you dress in more than a t-shirt when near bushfires.)


In 1980 there were worries about the fire season

BBay fire 1980 pic

BBay fire 1980

HOLIDAYS with The Canberra Times (1980, December 15). The Canberra Times, p. 10. Retrieved from


The summer of 1993 /94 was a bad summer for fires, and our house was threatened once again. The flames came very close. My mother, cooking dinner in the kitchen, looked out the window: there was the fire, coming down the hill. My father was busy putting out embers. The wind changed just in time.

old St Barbary

My parents’ beach house when it was newly built in the 1960s

BBay fire 1994

Worst of fires yet to come (1994, January 7). The Canberra Times, p. 1. Retrieved from


As you can guess, I follow the fire news closely. From today’s news we are reading about fires just north of us: