Sunday, February 22, 2009

Melbourne/VIctoria Fires

Melbourne Feb 8th

Melbourne is a beautiful cosmopolitan city in the south east of Australia, in the State of Victoria.
The days before I was due to travel there, an unusual heat-wave of temperatures of +42° C were recorded. This, coupled with extremely dry conditions, (parts of Victoria has been in a drought for 10 years), triggered some massive, hot and fast moving fires which destroyed many homes and resulted in hundreds of tragic deaths, both human and animal. Whole towns were destroyed. Thousands are homeless.
I arrived in the state the day after. The temperatures had subsided but there was smoke in the air. The mood not only statewide but nationwide was somber and emotional. Typical of the generous spirit of Australians, everyone was involved in helping the victims in whatever way they could. To gauge the emotional connectedness of the people, you only have to watch the Prime Minister break down in tears, overcome with emotion during his address to the nation.
I was due to travel to Shepparton, north of Melbourne by train later in the week. All trains were cancelled due to damage of the rail ties and bridges. We were bussed up there through some of the worst hit areas.
Quite sobering. Its February 24th and still the fires burn
Below are some pictures.

No cations needed.

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Why this blog.....

My photo
January to March 2009. I was on Professional Development leave from my teaching Job at the Culinary Institute of Vancouver Island Universtity. I chose to take a 3 month leave to visit bakeries and teachng institutions in Australia. Thank you to VIU and my union (BCGEU) for supporting this venture. The aim of this blog was to keep an ongoing diary of my experiences and share them with my students and colleagues. This sure beats coming up with a report and slide show months later. I mean "FRESH" is what baking is all about! Learned to bake back in 1978....making granola...but that is another story. .