"Allan has a block of land at Mount Victoria in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, he was up there by himself yesterday, trying to protect his house from the fires coming from the Lithgow area. He told me it was quite eerie up there before the fires hit. Then I got a message around 5pm saying everything was gone, there had been a sudden wind change and fires had broken out around Mount York Rd, Mount Victoria. He tried to fight it with his water pump, generator, hose and sprinkler system but the speed and ferocity of the firestorm was overwhelming. When the Rural Fire Service volunteers arrived they told him he must have a had a close escape, half his beard was burnt off and he didn't realise. Allan is completely devastated by the loss of the property and his extensive, lifelong book collection. Allan has only recently completed the construction of the house. He has poured his life savings into what was meant to be his mountain refuge from the pressures of his 'whistleblower' conviction. This brave Australian deserves better than this."You can say that again and again. I've tried to contact him this afternoon, and, dear reader, put you on notice of a call for help for this learned champion of honesty and integrity.
Allan deserves praise and thanks for his effort to highlight failings within Customs and the security problems at Sydney Airport in 2005, recounted here. I believe him when he says he is not guilty of the offence, despite a conviction, of leaking a report to journalists at The Australian, but that he had spoken to his local MP Anthony Albanese, in Opposition at the time. Having made a fuss prior to the 2007 election about Allan's treatment during the Howard era, the ALP left government in September 2013 having done nothing to address the injustices foisted upon him.
Allan, wherever you are, be assured many are thinking of you and ready to lend a hand in response to this disaster.
On a personal note I have a daughter who with her family at Springwood have cleared out twice in two days as the fires neared, but are safe and not otherwise affected. Commiserations to all impacted by the fires.
Update: Allan responded, philosophically, to my message on Friday night:
Thanks for your thoughts, I'm OK just a bit pissed off at being broke again (uninsured!!) but, as the old chinese proverb sez, "now that my store house has burnt down, my view of the scenery is no longer obscured"...The amazing thing.. is that though the new house is gone, all my sheds, the garage which I put up in 2006 was unscathed, even though it was only a couple metres from conflagration, standing like Gibraltar amid a sea of grey ash and smouldering coals & embers. So at least I still have something to live in.. all in all, I'm luckier than most.. thanks for thinking of me."I have asked him to put aside any uncomfortable feelings to tell me where I can send some money. If you feel moved by his situation, and would like to do likewise please contact me by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 02 83569622.