Archive for February, 2009

Bushfire Damage at the CFF residence

February 19, 2009
A Very Lucky Escape from the Victorian Fires
The Children First Foundation Residence At Kilmore, Victoria
How incredibly lucky for the children and those at the Children First Foundation Farm at Kilmore having escaped the fires that have left so many dead, injured and in great pain emotionally. There isn’t a person alive who hasn’t been touched and affected by the scale of this devestation.
I have copied the opening page with photos of the Children First Foundations Website. Quite extensive damage has been done to the childrens play equipment and the surroundings. The gear will need to be replaced and if anyone can assist in any way please contact the CFF (
Another way everyone can assist, no matter where you are from, is by donations to the CFF. This will help them to keep their life saving and life changing programmes up and running.
Our direct on-line donations page is unique in that the funds raised go to the foundation at the end of the month for the programmes to continue.
Also you can create your own page if you are having a birthday and would like to see if your friends would like to give a gift to you of a donation to the CFF. It doesn’t have to be a birthday, it could be some other function or celebration, ie Easter. By clicking on the following link:
I know that all who are following the Darwin to Melbourne Thank You Camel Expedition will be thinking of the children at the farm and wishing them well, thanking the CFA, police and ambulance officers, the local council and  Volunteers who helped the children escape the fires and assisted to save the farm. Also to thank the volunteers who are assisting in the clean up needed for the farm to be a functional and pleasant respite centre for the children.
Below is the report from Marg Smith, CEO of the CFF, of the fires and  how very close it was to everyone.
Please take the time to read the report and also take the time to make a donation, create a donation page or get a group of friends together, creating a function of some sort to raise much needed funds for the kids.
On a different note, Ros and I are once again furiously getting ready for the trek to the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne and the the CFF Kilmore residence for the Thank You Camel Expedition. We will leave Alice Springs on the 29th March from the Council Lawns at 12.00 noon and have invited the public to walk through the Gap with us as a show of thanks to Moira and the CFF and to break the record of the number of people walking through the Gap at one time.
If you know of anyone who will be in Alice or live here in Alice Springs, please let them know of this event and to invite them to join us to say thank you through the Gap.
Best wishes
Russell and Ros

Children First Farm, Fire update

Monday 16th February
Last week volunteers from the local Catholic parish and Kilmore community rallied at the Farm for the enormous job of cleaning up the ash, soot and other debris that infiltrated the house during the fires on Saturday 7th February.

Moira and the Directors have been overwhelmed by the assistance we have had at the Farm. Members of Rotary District 9790 came on Saturday to clean up the surrounds of the house. One Rotarian brought his bulldozer and removed the melted play equipment.  A number of people from the Broadford community helped repair fences and cleaned up around the garden area.  Aker Solutions, one of the Foundation’s corporate partners, also had a number of their staff lend a hand with the clean up.

As a member of a local community devastated by the fires, the Foundation has offered its recently constructed Cabrini Barn as emergency accommodation for local bush fire survivors. The Department of Human Services have inspected the Barn and it will soon house a family who have been left homeless.

Tuesday 10th February 10am:
Moira and the conjoined twins were in North Melbourne on Saturday when the fire storm hit Saunders Road, Kilmore East.

Our wonderful weekend volunteers Judy and Andrew Walsh realised the there was a fire near by and gathered the other children together and into the van and Judy went into Kilmore township where they stayed with our regular volunteers Anne and Tony Harrigan. Later in the day they came to our North Melbourne Emergency Accommodation Home.

Andrew, Noel Baker, (Director and donor of the Farm land) and Kevin Butler (neighbour) stayed at the Farm and were supported by five CFA trucks. The fire came from the east over the dam and was contained. A second wave of fire came up the front and took out all the play equipment, cubby houses, and trampoline and began to melt the water tanks. The fire was halted but continued on up and over the hill.

During the ‘lull’ Moira left Melbourne with Kelsang (Chogkyi’s dad) and went to Kilmore. She was successful in getting through to the Farm. Moira has been shocked to the core by the devastation. CFA crews brought in tractors and ploughed fire breaks around the back and west sides. Michael and Patrick Kelly also rallied and came up from Melbourne with a huge water tanker to support the CFA crews. The wind turned and the team were faced by a wall of fire again. This time it went between the Farm and Noel’s place and back over the road again. A number of people nearby lost their lives. Noel Baker’s home was just saved.

On Sunday Rotary members and further members of the Kelly family came in to help with keeping embers under control.

Over the weekend we received over 100 calls of support. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. The calls have not stopped and over the next couple of weeks we will need help with cleaning, fencing and planting of trees. However, there are many more people with incomprehensible loss, but we do understand that people want to help Moira and the Foundation and we thank you.

Please email your name and phone number to if you wish to register your availability to assist in any way.

The situation is still being monitored and at this stage there is no immediate threat.

We are so grateful to all the CFA, DSE, Victoria Police and volunteers for keeping our wonderful home standing. Their extraordinary courage and commitment in such extreme conditions, has been overwhelming. A heart felt thank you .

Many of you will know Louise and John (Director) from Dixon’s Creek. They are extremely fortunate to be alive, however they have lost one large shed of supplies.

Roger Langley, (Director), was fortunate not to lose his property at Bunyip.

Margaret Smith
Chief Executive Officer


Fires In Victoria

February 8, 2009
Sunday 27th Feb 2009
I’ve just rang Marg Smith (CEO of the Children First Foundation) after having learn’t of the Fires in Victoria.
All of the kids at the CFF House in Kilmore are safe and were evacuated late last night.
The fires licked around the house but thank God for the expertise and dedication of the CFA the house was saved.
Naturally everyones thoughts are with Moira, Marg and especially the kids. A very frightening experience indeed for all.
Our love and thoughts are with you all who are affected by this terrible disaster.