Home' The Bunyip : January 14th 2015 Contents "THE BUNYIP" GAWLER, Wednesday, January 14, 2015 Page 9
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Outdoor centre scorched
AN outdoor education centre
used by Trinity College has
been severely damaged in the
Sampson Flat bushfire.
The blaze destroyed most of the
fencing and vegetation around
the school's Blackham environ-
mental centre, next to the Parra
Wirra Recreation Park, as well as
its toilet block.
Miraculously, the outdoor class-
room at the facility has remained
Head of the college Nick Hat-
ely said while it would take work
to get the facility up and running,
he was thankful to learn the out-
door classroom was still standing.
"You just can't predict what a
bushfire would do," he said.
"The flames came right up to
this thing, which is a wooden
structure, and it actually didn't
Mr Hately said the school was
currently putting its resources
into supporting the many Trinity
families who have been impacted
by the bushfires, but would look
at restoring the Blackham centre
further down the track.
He estimated the damage to be
tens of thousands of dollars but
believed the facility could be in
use again later this year.
"It certainly should be usable
again and because we mainly use
it for the bush camping and those
sorts of things," he said.
"It's really similar to a national
park so we don't need a lot of
physical facilities there to be able
to use it."
Mr Hately said this was not the
first time the property has suf-
fered fire damage.
"There was fire damage through
there seven or eight years ago," he
"It will bounce back."
THE total damage caused by the Sampson
Flat bushfire is still unknown, even for local
winemakers whose wines may be at risk of
According to the Australian Wine Research
Institute (AWRI) certain compounds are responsible
for off-flavours and aromas following smoke expo-
sure, however the full effects of the smoke will not be
realised until the fermentation process.
AWRI chief executive Brian Smedley said smoke-
taint is dependent on a multitude of variables such
as, the type of grapes, the stage they are in and their
location, in addition to the climate of the area, the
density of the smoke and the duration of exposure.
"There are a lot of variables, you cannot just sim-
ply say that because there has been a bushfire in the
Adelaide Hills or that smoke has been blowing from
the Adelaide Hills to the Barossa that there is going to
be smoke-taint," he said.
"Invariably, you do not know the extent of a smoke-
taint problem until you actually crush the grapes and,
even then, it is only when you go through the process
"You can pick a bunch of grapes from the vineyard,
taste the berries and not detect any smoke-taint, but
then you might find later that you do have a particu-
He added that prior to the process of veraison,
which, put simply, is the berry-ripening process --
smoke damage is not going to be as critical.
"Any smoke is going to be a concern but, if it is
post-veraison it is more of a concern," he said.
"We are aware that some (grapes) have gone through
the process and that it has occurred in varying locations.
"If (the fire) had happened in the Riverland that
would be more concerning because they are just about
to harvest, whereas the Barossa is still weeks away."
Barossa Grape and Wine Association viticultural
development officer Nicki Robins said the fire was
closest to Williamstown, but the wind changed
meaning the smoke didn't settle in the valley.
"There has been no reported damage in the
Barossa," she said.
Abbott pledges support
AN estimated $5 million in recovery
funding will be available for Sampson
Flat bushfire victims from Federal and
Prime Minister Tony Abbott visited the
incident command centre in One Tree
Hill on Thursday to announce Federal as-
sistance for those severely affected by the
Following a tour of the scorched Mount
Lofty Ranges, Mr Abbott said people who
have lost their homes or have been severely
affected by the bushfire will be eligible
for Disaster Recovery Payments, which
include a one-off payment of $1000 per
adult and $400 for each child.
Up to 13 weeks of income assistance will
also be available to those whose employ-
ment was seriously affected.
"It's estimated some hundreds of people
will qualify for these payments, that will
cost about $4 million over the coming
year," Mr Abbott said.
The funding comes on top of the State
Government emergency grants of up to
$700, announced last weekend.
Mr Abbott thanked the firefighters and
emergency service workers for their dedi-
cated efforts over the past six days.
"While we grieve for those who have lost
we can nevertheless feel proud of the ef-
forts that have been put in," he said.
"And we can be relieved that a disaster,
which looked potentially catastrophic on
Saturday afternoon, has to a considerate
extent been averted because of the mag-
nificent work of the people who are repre-
sented here in this fire control centre this
However, Mr Abbott brushed off a pro-
posal to slash the Emergency Services Levy
for Country Fire Service volunteers as grat-
itude for their efforts in the past week.
"Speaking as a rural firefighter, as a vol-
unteer rural firefighter, we do what we do
not because someone tells us to do it, but
because we want to do it, not because we
are paid, but because we are committed to
"This idea that you should start to pay
volunteers, I think is an idea which should
be treated with great caution."
Mr Abbott was joined by Assistant
Minister for Infrastructure Jamie Briggs
and South Australian Premier Jay
Weatherill at One Tree Hill today.
Mr Weatherill, who also toured the
fire-affected parts of the region yesterday,
said the State Government has pledged $1
million to assist those recovering from the
Bearing good news, he said the fire has
been now 100 per cent contained and the
number of homes lost has been revised
from 32 to 27.
BUSHFIRE CRISIS AFTERMATH
ABOVE: Prime Minister Tony Abbott
spoke to the media at the One Tree Hill
incident command centre with Premier
Jay Weatherill and Assistant Minister for
Infrastructure Jamie Briggs last Thursday
after touring the re-a ected parts of the
Mount Lofty Ranges.
BELOW: Prime Minister Tony Abbott
announced the Federal Government would
provide around $4 million in bush re
recovery funding. PHOTOS: Kimberley Pratt
The toilet block at Trinity College's
Blackham environmental centre
burned down in the Sampson Flat
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