Tag: Mr Matchett

Sydney mum describes running for her life with her kids as bushfire closed in

Tarbuck Bay 2428

A Sydney mother has described how she and her children were forced to flee on foot through the bush as a fast-moving bushfire closed in on the wooden holiday house they were renting.

Tracey Corbin-Matchett and her family were staying in the rental at Tarbuck Bay, north of Newcastle, on Saturday.

She said they had just sat down to eat dinner when her husband Greg noticed something was wrong.

“Hubby went to get a glass of water to have with dinner, and there was no water, so he said, ‘Oh, the power must be out’,” she told the ABC.

“He went [outside] to check the fuse box and saw further down that there was smoke coming up, there must be a fire down at the road, not realising it was actually on our property.”

Ms Corbin-Matchett said the family decided to leave immediately, only taking some clothes with them in the car.

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They figured they wouldn’t be gone too long.


The holiday house in Tarbuck Bay was made of wood and surrounded by bush. (Supplied)

“[We] left behind everyone’s Christmas presents and surfboards and stuff and drove down the driveway of the property, which is quite a long, winding driveway.”

But as they neared the end of the path, Ms Corbin-Matchett said they realised the fire was right in front of them. Strong winds had brought down a tree at the edge of the property, which then knocked over a power line, sparking the blaze.

Making matters worse, the fallen tree and powerline were blocking the end of the driveway.

“We had to reverse back up the driveway, with the car in reverse as the fire was chasing us, thinking that if we could sort of scramble into the house it would be safe,” she said.


Ms Corbin-Matchett (second from right), her daughters Sage and Aurora and son Zahn (centre), all had to flee the property on foot — her husband Greg (second from left) stayed behind. (Supplied)

‘My son only had socks on — he ran like a champion’

Back inside, the family realised staying put was not a safe option either.

“By the time we got to the house, fire had come over the balcony,” Ms Corbin-Matchett said.

In video footage shot by one of her teenage daughters, flames are seen shooting up trees just near the edge of the wooden balcony. Ms Corbin-Matchett can be heard in the background, talking to emergency services over the phone.

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“Hubby in his quick thinking said, ‘Get out of the house, this is not going to be safe, you guys run through the bush,'” she said.

“My son only had socks on, he’s only nine — he ran like a champion. My daughters are 17 and 15, they just ran.

“I was running on pure adrenaline, it honestly felt like I was running through quicksand … I was trying not to show panic, but I was absolutely panicked.”

Ms Corbin-Matchett and her children ended up in a neighbouring property owned by an elderly couple, who she said were “a bit surprised” to see them running into their backyard.

The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) soon arrived and sent a truck to the holiday house, helping Mr Matchett get the family’s car off the property through a back way, avoiding the downed powerline.

“The RFS came, they were amazing. They’re so calm and they just know what to do, what to say,” Ms Corbin-Matchett said.

“They were cuddling the kids, the waterbombers were going over, they were giving us instructions on where to go and how to get out.”

‘It just happened in a minute’


The holiday house in Tarbuck Bay, seen from the water. The Matchett family are not sure if it survived the fire. (Supplied)

The fire ended up circling back towards the neighbouring property, which also needed to be evacuated.

Ms Corbin-Matchett said the elderly couple, who had a little wildlife sanctuary on their property, were picked up by friends and taken somewhere safe.

“I hope for that beautiful old couple — that was their home that they’ve lived in for a very long time — that it’s okay and that their animals are okay,” she said.

“We don’t know what the [holiday] house is like, it was pretty close, as you can see from the video, the flames were right on the house … Hubby’s gone back today to see what’s left.”

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Now back home in Sydney, Ms Corbin-Matchett said what happened to her family could happen to anyone, and praised the “brilliant” work of the RFS firefighters who helped them.

“We were literally just sitting down for a lovely roast lamb dinner, ready to go for a surf — just the quintessential Aussie holiday — and that happens.”

The Smiths Lake area where the family was holidaying did not have any active fires at the time of the blaze, so there were no warnings in place at the time.

“It was a bit of a series of unfortunate events, but we’re very lucky, we’re back home today in the Shire thanking our lucky stars that we are safe,” Ms Corbin-Matchett said.

“It just happened in a minute, and with no warning, absolutely no warning.”

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news

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