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Memories of Binna Burra
Lens: Pentax Q 02 Camera: Q10 Photo Location: Binna Burra Queensland 
Posted By: PJ1, 09-09-2019, 05:14 AM

Some people (and probably anyone in Australia) will be aware of the devastating bush fires in Southern Queensland and Northern New South Wales over the last few days. Houses have been lost but at least there has been no loss of life yet. We are not personally affected. There are fires to the southeast of us. The westerly winds mean they are not headed this way but this afternoon we had a howling dust storm with winds of about 50 km/hr. It wasn't pleasant, but better than a fire. Everyone needs rain - desperately.

Anyway, back to the thread . One of the high profile losses has been the heritage-listed Binna Burra Lodge in the mountains behind the Gold Coast. Binna Burra is in a rain forest area although the predominant vegetation is what is known as wet sclerophyll forest. Binna Burra is/was a pleasant place to stay. In the last few years my wife and I have spent a few days chilling out at the Lodge on a couple of occasions. Yesterday the fires destroyed it. It will be rebuilt, but it is still a sad loss. The lodges we stayed in had external walls of beautiful slab timbers with shingle roofs. They blended with the environment. I guess that always carries a risk. Images of the burned out lodge are on the net. But here are a few of our memories (all shot with the Q, Q10 or Q7)

The late afternoon view from the paved patio area outside the cliff top dining room. It was a great place to take in the sunset while enjoying a glass of wine.


Typical wet sclerophyll forest. As well as the obvious flora it is teeming with bird and animal life.


A banksia. These are beautiful shrubs or small trees. As a side note - fire is generally needed to burst their seed pods and start the next generation. But 'cool' fires are the rule. The very 'hot' fires we are having at present can destroy everything.


Yellow-tailed black cockatoos in the canopy. The shot was taken with the original Q and an adapted Pentax/Cosmicar 8-48/f0-1.2 lens. The shot is heavily cropped because the cockatoos were high up and some way off. The Q performed brilliantly with the assistance of the very fast lens.


Mrs PJ1 leads me off on a rain forest track.


On our last stay at Binna Burra they put us in a two bedroom apartment (with the second bedroom in the loft). It had a small balcony and we took a pic for our grandchildren. They were planning to stay there with us at some time.


They were also renovating the lodges when we were there the last time. We bought a couple of shingles. Ah, well ... the thought was there.

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09-09-2019, 02:03 PM   #2
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Very good photos and thanks for sharing them. This must have been a special place to spend some time. Hopefully they get it re-built. Unfortunately what makes the place beautiful also makes it susceptible to fires, with the dense growth right up to the buildings. As you probably know, California has suffered devastating fires, and many of the places lost were built right into historical fire paths that have had periodic fires for probably thousands of years.
09-09-2019, 03:29 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by ToddK Quote
California has suffered devastating fires
Thanks for commenting. Yes, we know about the California fires. They were terribly destructive. We are far less densely populated, which mitigates damage to some extent. But. as you say, the vegetation here is right up to the buildings. There have been fires before, but they could be controlled. This time we had the added complication of an Antarctic vortex. I know you get an Arctic vortex every couple of years and they bring very strong winds. The Antarctic vortex has only occurred twice in sixty years. In this case it put extremely strong winds behind the fire. There was certainly no stopping it. There is also only one road in and out of Binna Burra so anyone who stayed to fight the fire would have faced certain death. But we will go back one day.
09-09-2019, 04:57 PM   #4
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So horrible what going on here. I was actually in the area on Tuesday night, doing some Milkyway photos in the Numinbah Valley, shooting up towards Binna Burra. I was going to go scouting for more locations on the weekend, but, certainly wasn't going to hamper Fire crews up in the areas. Smoke is right across Brisbane again today.

Nice to have some Shots to remember what was there. Hopefully it will be rebuilt.

Thanks for Sharing

09-09-2019, 07:21 PM   #5
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Hey Pete, glad to hear that you are safe mate. A real shame with what is happening with droughts and fires etc. You and Mrs. PJ1 have some lovely memories at least. Excellent pix buddy. Stay safe.
09-09-2019, 09:36 PM   #6
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Wonderful photographs and commentary. Let's hope the rebuilding goes seamlessly. Cheers and thanks for posting.

TT
09-10-2019, 06:11 PM   #7
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Thanks for posting some photos. I haven't had the chance to look again at photos from my most recent stays at Binna Burra. Some of the photos on Facebook have been heart-wrending, not least the devastation of the lodge, but also shocked koalas sitting on the ruins of burned trees. Many animals will have been killed in the fires, especially Koalas which couldn't move fast enough to escape. I hope that the rainforest has escaped the files, because the rainforest trees simply die. The dry forest Eucalypts and Acacias are adapted to fire and can recover if the trunks aren't burned too much, but if the rainforest burns, it will be gone until new trees grow in from the edges of the burned areas. Other areas of Lamington National Park are still threatened by the fires, and it would be a double tragedy if the fire reaches O'Reilly's at Green Mountains.

I've been visiting Binna Burra and O'Reilly's for forty years, and I've done hundreds of kilometres of hikes in the national park. I'm devastated that the lodge and the old slab huts are gone. I don't think anyone ever expected that a drought would cause bushfires in a park so close to the coast, let alone at the beginning of Spring. It's going to be a long, hot summer.

If there's a bright side, I think that the camp site at Binna Burra may have escaped the flames. It's small consolation to the folks in nearby areas that lost their homes, but at least it means that there will be some facilities which can continue to earn income for the community while the lodge is rebuilt.
09-10-2019, 06:19 PM - 1 Like   #8
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A real tragedy, especially for the animals.

09-10-2019, 07:01 PM - 1 Like   #9
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Binna Burra or O'Reillys were two of my favourite day trips from the 1990's onwards. Last time I was there (November 2016) I did a 4-5 hr trail walk there with a friend I have known since 1959. At that time, I was still in a 30+ years hiatus from cameras and photography, so my only shots of that last walk are from my Oppo phone, or from my friend's Nikon. I occasionally toyed with the idea of a 3-4 day stay in one of the log cabins up there. Now not to be.

It is truly devastating to contemplate the damage to that beautiful part of the planet, and the wildlife there, and to all other places that have been victim to huge wild fires in the last decade or so.

Here are a couple of phone pics from my last walk there.
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09-11-2019, 03:13 AM   #10
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This is the interior of one of the slab construction buildings where I stayed in 2017. Sadly now reduced to ash.


Binna Burra Slab Hut Room
by RobGeraghty, on Flickr
09-11-2019, 03:53 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by K2 to K50 Quote
Here are a couple of phone pics from my last walk there.
QuoteOriginally posted by RobG Quote
the interior of one of the slab construction buildings where I stayed in 2017
Thanks for adding those. I really didn't have enough to do it justice.
09-11-2019, 04:04 AM   #12
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Brisbane and the Glasshouse Mountains from Binna Burra.


View from Binna Burra
by RobGeraghty, on Flickr

---------- Post added 11-09-19 at 09:07 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by PJ1 Quote
Thanks for adding those. I really didn't have enough to do it justice.
Neither do I. I never expected it to burn down, so I don't have many photos of the lodge itself or the various buildings. I took a couple of shots of the walls on that trip in 2017. I'll have to find the previous trip to see if there's more. I just donated to the GoFundMe campaign. I just hope that the replacement retains the feel of the original. It would be sad to replace it with a glass and steel motel building.
09-11-2019, 03:28 PM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobG Quote
I just donated to the GoFundMe campaign.
Thanks for the 'heads up'. It has started fairly slow so I was not far behind you.
09-11-2019, 03:55 PM   #14
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It's going to be a long, hot summer. I just hope that rain starts falling soon.
09-11-2019, 07:19 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobG Quote
It's going to be a long, hot summer. I just hope that rain starts falling soon.
Unfortunately, the weather people don't believe we can expect even an average rainfall in the next few months, but we can expect above average temperatures. We are paying the price of global-warming energy practices, and reduction of rainfall being caused by loss of transpiration from too much land-clearing. Weather experts around the world seem to predict an increasing likelihood of weather extremes becoming the norm.
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