Welcome to Eureka Street

back to site


Resilience and trust, in crisis

  • 15 March 2020
It has teemed with rain leading to widespread flooding and erosion of beaches. COVID-19 consumes us, reaching more and more parts of the world, more and more people in the affected countries, and plunging them into economic downturns.

Morrison says his focus is ‘to protect the health, the wellbeing, and livelihoods of Australians through this global crisis’. The Sydney Morning Herald’s chief political correspondent David Crowe, summarises ‘the months ahead (as) a murky period of economic and social uncertainty, with nobody sure when the coronavirus will peak, nor when it might pass'.

Despite this gloomy outlook, I still mainly look back. The bushfire legacy lives on. It acts as a benchmark for assessing tragedy and hope.

I cannot get the searing images out of my head of red, angry skies, of flames raging frighteningly, embers flying, and firefighters miraculously persevering against the odds.

I was in inner-west Sydney where suffocating smoke — puce light and eerie — and birdless silence pervaded. Well away from the regional epicentres, we were still glued to impossible to leave visuals and accompanying commentary, including of evacuation centres, tables brimming with donated goods, families clutching each other in fear and emotional support.

We have since been urged to holiday in Australia. Travel writers and operators tell us how the bush will recover and how local communities would welcome us with open arms.

Perversely, with the rise of COVID-19, travel has mostly been pushed off the agenda. Bookings are being cancelled, more for overseas than for here. When will global travel ever be the same again?


'During an exceptional Q+A on the bushfires, National Mental Health Commission CEO Christine Morgan said ‘it is not OK to be OK when you have lived through trauma for which it is impossible to find the words to describe’. I did a double-take. Had I heard her correctly?'  

Writer Trent Dalton’s moving account in The Australian, From Bateman’s Bay to Mallacoota, revealed the strength and desolation, fear and hope of the communities on his route. One of the devastated small towns he wrote about was Mojo, with its world-class zoo.

He could not get over how there were ‘no washing machines, no wardrobes, no underwear drawers, no pants. Just the clotheslines still standing where whole homes used to be.’ He could not forget the anguish, even guilt, of the people whose houses remained intact. ‘I don’t understand why (we) were still here… I’m anxious all the