Loss of Home in Cobungra
The 2020 bushfires in East Gippsland sparked the most traumatic time my family has ever faced. Our house in Cobungra along with our possessions, memories and family heirlooms were all incinerated and left a black scar on both the land and our hearts. Our pine nut business that we had dedicated 12 years of our lives to, was gone in its entirety. Nothing was salvageable.
Two days after the event we were allowed back to our farm to search for our horses and assess the damage. Our driveway was still burning and there was nothing green to be seen. Our horses were found but physically and mentally in a bad way. No fences existed, everything was gone. Immediately we had to consider our options and what we needed to do.
Our insurance helped with accommodation, but the immediate concerns were to look after the horses, get feed and clean water and to re-fence the property as well as sorting out our lives and our future. The initial costs were huge, and it was then that the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund (GERF) came to our aid. They helped us get back on our feet quickly and were there for us in our time of need.
A year and a half on and we are still trying to rebuild both our house and our lives. Our pine nut business is now a distant dream and we’ve had to restructure our lives especially in times of COVID.
I have often reflected to the initial event and those that were there for us and I am eternally grateful. That is why I have donated and will continue to donate back to GERF so they can do the excellent work they do. GERF gives back 100% of the donations they receive to help those in need.
The recent floods are just another example of the important work that they do for the community. GERF was there for us when we needed it and we will be there for them.
Written by Dr Jeremy Sternson
Resident of Cobungra
Australian Dental Association Victorian Branch 2021/22 President