REAL AUSTRALIA

Voice of Real Australia: A dollop of tolerance goes a long way

Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from Australian Community Media, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by email, or here to forward it to a friend. Today's newsletter is written by ACM digital news editor Janine Graham.

Sometimes you've gotta do what you've gotta do.

Yes, an all-compassing motherhood statement. And one that can (and no doubt will be) howled down by People Who Know Everything or People Who Know More About Your Feelings Than You.

Here on the Mid-North Coast of NSW we've had a helluva fortnight

Mother Nature hasn't been our friend. But then, maybe she's done what she had do.

First it was a lightning strike which sparked a fire in an expansive nature reserve in Port Macquarie. Of course, that environment has been severely water-depleted over the past few months.

Port Macquarie - a lifetime ago: Well, about a fortnight ago anyway. Photo: Brittany Daly

Port Macquarie - a lifetime ago: Well, about a fortnight ago anyway. Photo: Brittany Daly

Homes were threatened. Miraculously, none were lost. The NSW RFS and all manner of emergency services and agencies had much to do with that modern miracle. And to them, we are indeed eternally grateful.

Then, a week ago all hell broke loose. No doubt, you saw news coverage from Port Macquarie and surrounds as the sky turned blood red seven days ago.

The majority of people (the regular people going about their daily business) did what they thought best. Whether that was on the frontline fighting fires, behind the scenes providing support or just doing what they do, it was always a personal choice.

But what it proved is that we are the sum of our parts.

It also proved people handle situations very differently.

And here's something our PM, who popped in for a red-hot whistlestop photo op on Sunday at the RFS HQ on the Mid-North Coast on Sunday, might need reminding - Quiet Australians sometimes have big, loud emotions and reactions.

Those reactions, however, just might not be displayed outwardly.

Life goes on: Despite the apocalyptic nature of the day. Photo: @portmacquariesup

Life goes on: Despite the apocalyptic nature of the day. Photo: @portmacquariesup

One longtime environmental campaigner Harry Creamer took the opportunity to gatecrash moment and share his thoughts. Harry is a vociferous campaigner, he is passionate.

In "real life" he would comfortably fit in the Quiet Australian box the PM is so regularly references. There's no mohawk, no visible piercings, none of that "obvious stuff" that would alert you to his Noisy Australian proclivities. (To be sure, that sentence is written in sarcasm font)

Mr Creamer did what he thought he had to do. As did Carol Booth.

Perhaps Mr Morrison would feel more comfortable with Carol playing the harp to her anxious blind horse after they evacuated to the Wauchope Showgrounds when the fire bore down.

But then, maybe not. A bit too New Agey, perhaps too?

Keep calm: Oscar the horse gives harpist Carol Booth some side-eye love.

Keep calm: Oscar the horse gives harpist Carol Booth some side-eye love.

You might have heard of Wauchope - once home to the Big Bull. It is a hugely significant town in the evolution of the Hastings. Has been for years and always will be. It is probably full of Quiet Australians.

Yesterday Wauchope show society president Neil Coombes asks on local radio if there was anyone who could held build pens for animals evacuated from fire-endangered properties. Dozens of people answered his call and there's now room for 500 animals.

Be assured though, while they rolled up their sleeves and just did what had to be done, some of these people are Noisy Australians.

Combine them with everyone else and you have this old-fashioned thing called a community. As the Mid-North Coast has shown in these past weeks, communities can thrive - with just a dollop of tolerance here and there.

We are, after all, the sum of our parts.

Janine Graham

ACM digital news editor

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