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This Is Northern New South Wales

Life is the fire that burns

On the evening of Sunday, December 29, David Packman was sitting on the deck of his home in Broken Head, a stunningly beautiful nature reserve on the east coast of Australia.

With him and his wife Kate were his sister-in-law and eight year-old nephew, who were visiting for the holidays.

They watched from their unique vantage point as a lightning strike sparked a major bushfire, turning their night upside down and – as harrowing experiences often do – prompting a time for reflection and change.

David has captured the event as it unfolded in a series of haikus that were first published by The Good Men Project, which have been accompanied by a series of photographs by Kirra Pendergast, who happened to be visiting friends next door. The fire burned well over 700 hectares over the following days, but fortunately, there were no lives lost or property damaged.


Zeus throws down his spear

Smoky sky turns orange mad

Eternally etched



Beach the hasty night retreat

Neighbours by our side

Separated now

Driving past the leaping flames

Sleepless night awaits

Ashen breaks the day

A fleeting return to scene

Eerie the scorched earth