Tony Headford with stepdaughter Alivia at their Mount Maria property.
Tony Headford with stepdaughter Alivia at their Mount Maria property.

Nature thriving after horror Lowmead blaze

IT’s the little things that make Lowmead and Mount Maria residents smile after severe bushfires tore through 11,155 hectares in the region late last year.

For Mount Maria resident Tony Headford, seeing his Xanthorrhoea plants grow for the first time after the fires was enough to lift his spirits.

Tony Headford's property after the Lowmead fires 2019
Tony Headford's property after the Lowmead fires 2019

“They put a smile on my face when I walk around the back paddock with the dogs in the afternoon,” Mr Headford said.

As a Wartburg Rural Fire Brigade member, Mr Headford knows first-hand the destruction the Lowmead bushfire caused to the region last December.

He had just returned from a 12-hour shift before having to protect his own 16ha property from the blaze.

Mr Headford said it was a huge relief to see the rain after the region went through a drought and bushfire season.

“We were down to 5000 ­litres in the house tank but that has since filled up,” he said.

“We were looking at having to buy water at some stage.

“But it’s all growing back around here in the neighbourhood, everywhere you look.”

Despite three homes being lost in the Lowmead and Mount Maria blazes, Mr Headford said there were some good things to have come out as a result of the fires. “The fires have brought everyone in the region closer together,” he said.

“All the neighbours still check up on each other.”

Tony Headford with his Xanthorrhoea plant he gave marble eyes to
Tony Headford with his Xanthorrhoea plant he gave marble eyes to "brighten up the place a little bit" after the Lowmead fire tore through his 16ha property.

Although the rain has made the community happier, Mr Headford said the previous bushfire season is still in the forefront of residents’ minds.

He said a lot of residents are already preparing for the next bushfire season.

“A lot of people are putting breaks in while they repair fences now,” he said.

“They’re making gaps bigger to make it easier for vehicles to get around next time around.”

Mr Headford said the key was to look on “the positive side of things”.

“My partner was feeling stressed before but she’s starting to come around now,” he said.

“She’s now seeing the positive side of things as I told her, ‘it’s a clean canvas’.”

“It’s all about trying to stay positive, it’s the best medicine.”

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