Combating the Australian bushfires

Nick Ferguson (left in front row) oversaw a team of four volunteer firefighters tackling blazes across Kangaroo Island, in South Australia.
Nick Ferguson (left in front row) oversaw a team of four volunteer firefighters tackling blazes across Kangaroo Island, in South Australia.
Earlier this year Australia experienced its worst bushfire season to date. Unprecedented numbers of people, wildlife and properties were lost. Fires impacted most states and required the help of thousands of volunteers.

A number of staff from Kalari and HSE served as volunteer firefighters, assigned to tackle the blazes and help contain the spread across Victoria, New South Wales and parts of South Australia. One of the volunteers was Nick Ferguson, a Driver Trainer with Kalari, who was deployed as fire crew leader on Kangaroo Island in South Australia, where bushfires devastated the island's unique wildlife.

Nick's task was to help farmers protect their properties by controlling embers and preventing further flareups caused by the heat contained in the roots of burnt vegetation. Nick also helped save a local pub being burned down, after fire spread to an adjacent property.

Attending these scenes was emotionally taxing. Says Nick: "I'd be crazy if I said I didn't have moments that got to me, like seeing the affected wildlife. In transit you'd see a koala on the side of the road, singed and looking around at how their world has changed". Despite this, Nick says there was nothing quite like the interaction with the farmers and people he was called on to help: "There's something about giving freely without expecting anything in return that's quite liberating".

Meanwhile, Swire Shipping and Swire Bulk Australia have provided both financial and practical assistance to those impacted. In the catastrophic fires, Clifton Creek Primary School, a tiny school in south-eastern Victoria with just 10 students – mostly with special needs – was completely destroyed. The school was built in 1911 and – reflecting the values of the small rural community – was not only a place for students to learn, but also a centre where the local community came together for various annual events. In cooperation with Port of Melbourne, Swire donated and arranged transport of a 40-foot shipping container packed with donated goods from Foodbank for the school and the Clifton Creek community.
Coastal conservation

Coastal conservation

Protecting young girls from cervical cancer

Protecting young girls from cervical cancer

Working towards a waste-free future

Working towards a waste-free future

Combating the Australian bushfires

Combating the Australian bushfires

Art for everyone

Art for everyone

Back to top