TV’s dirtgirl turns 10 after fireys save their world
DIRTGIRL didn't shy away from mentioning the bushfire that almost destroyed Dirtgirl World at Camira Creek last week.
"You understand what it's like for fires to come close," dirtgirl said to visiting Rappville Public School students.
"Look how close it came to here," she said and pointed to the edge of burned bushland only a metre from the colourful shed and garden where the children's TV series dirtgirl is filmed.
The village of Rappville was hit by a savage fire on October 8 and while the community still recovers, students enjoyed celebrating dirtgirl's tenth birthday.
Casino RFS members Mick Stain and Terry Woodyatt were back at Dirtgirl World after saving it from being burned in the Myall Creek fire which spread to Camira Creek.
At the time, when they were using water from Hewey Eustace and Cate McQuillen's pond, they had no idea of the significance of the place.
"The fire made a run through the scrub," Mr Stain said.
They managed to steer the fire to the south with help from water helicopters.
Once they realised what they had saved, they posted photos on social media, even telling dirtgirl they had watered her plants.
Ms McQuillen and Mr Eustace who had fled the fire and were in Ballina read those message, relieved Dirtgirl World had been saved.
Mr Eustace had spent the best part of a year preparing their property for fire.
"This has been going on for months," he said.
"There was an impending feeling of low level anxiety."
Their fire plan had always been to leave the property when told danger was imminent.
Mr Eustace packed the cars with a few of his precious guitars, his mahjong set and family paintings.
But they couldn't take the set of Dirtgirl World with them.
"I stayed as long as I could," Mr Eustace said.
With the Summerland Way blocked, he had to take the Old Tenetrfield Rd, onto Wyan Rd and loop through Rappville.
There was adrenaline and confusion at the same time," Mr Eustace said.
"It was so dark and smoky, even the headlights didn't work."
It was a hair-raising drive out of Camira Creek when he had to veer to miss an oncoming fire truck.
For days the couple monitored comments on social media about dirtgirl's home.
Mr Eustace was grateful for daily updates from Richmond Valley Council's general manager Vaughan Macdonald.
Celebrating dirtgirl's tenth birthday on World Soil Day was the icing on the cake for her creators.
The fire has provided opportunities for more dirtgirl storylines, Mr Eusatce said.
"It's not all roses and bunny rabbits," he said.