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MICK LEIBECK, SCADDAN Like many farmers, the Tuesday morning of the fires

Liebeck Road. By the time I got there the sky was black.

found me in the paddock early, harvesting away on our

It was eerie. The wind was howling, and there was so

southern block. It was around 9.30am when notification

much smoke everywhere there was no way to tell where

Soon after mum and dad left, Oskar and Paul Ryan, our

of a harvest ban came through, so we proceeded to pull

the fire was.

employee, turned up with another fire unit, so we set to

up for the day. As I hopped down from the cab, I noticed that it was already hot for the time of day.

situation.) There was no huge panic at that stage.

watering the house down. I pulled up out front before walking into the darkened house, only to find both mum and dad still inside. The

We hadn’t started harvest at the home block, so there

At about 10.30am Gav Egan, the Scaddan Bushfire

landlines were out, and there was no power. But Mum

was only the one header front up that way. I told Oskar

Brigade Captain, called me. Gav relayed that the fire out

was standing at the stove cooking tea and Dad was

and Paul to remain calm, and we would go retrieve the

at Cascade was looking like it could get really nasty.

sitting in his usual chair. It was surreal. Everything was

front. We hooked it up to the ute and towed it out of the

He asked me to be on standby and ready to assist. Still

carrying on as per a normal day. I wasted no time telling

paddock to safety.

on the south block, we put the machines on the dam

them that they had to get out of there, that it wasn’t safe.

catchments out of harms way before staying on there for the rest of the afternoon.

The air was now choked with smoke, but there was not a While I was there my mobile rang twice in quick

flame in sight. We still couldn’t tell exactly which way the

succession; one call was from Nigel Norwood, the other

fire was coming from.

At around 3.30pm, my son Oskar, received several text

was from Gav. I put it on speaker and sat it on the table,

messages from the Curnow boys. They relayed that

so mum and dad could fully understand the situation.

Mindful of Oskar’s safety, I told him to head south for

the fire was ‘bigger than Ben Hur.’ The boys advised

Gav was pretty concerned. He said the fire was out of

home. Paul and I would stay on. Oskar wasn’t keen on

Oskar that they had already been evacuated and that he

control, and that we needed to ‘get out of there right now,

leaving, but I finally convinced him to head off. He left,

should get ready to as well.

it has just gone through the Scaddan Primary School.’

with his last words to me being, ‘just don’t burn dad.’

He urged us to gather anything valuable and leave for It was then that I tried to call my folks. Mum and Dad

‘Rainbow Hill’.

still lived up at our home block, which was out along

I parked the ute and fire unit on Liebeck Road, just outside mum and dad’s house, while Paul went into the work

Liebeck Road, but try as I might I couldn’t seem to get

I managed to grab a big box of photos and four pictures

shed across from the house to shift some stuff around. A

hold of them. Out of what seemed like pure instinct I

off the wall, then got mum and dad out of the house and

couple of neighbours went past, all heading south. The

decided to head up, and see, whether for some reason

on their way. As they left, I unchained dad’s old dog

next thing there were flames everywhere. I called Paul on

they hadn’t gotten the warnings, and they were still at

Charcoal, and chucked him in the back of dad’s ute.

the two-way and told him to get out. The whole place was

home. Following my gut feeling, I started to head towards

(Later on I realised how well the dog’s name reflected the

about to go up.

pg 98 | MICK LEIBECK, SCADDAN

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