“When the fires advanced through the rugged landscape around Wollombi in December, residents feared their historic village would be devoured.
It was only the weather that saved Wollombi, said David Allwood, who operates a tourist accommodation business, Somewhere Unique, with his partner Murray Groves. It was that close. We really thought at one stage we were gone.
The village was spared, but the flames still scorched the soul of the village and dried up its lifeblood. The tourists stayed away in what is one of the busiest times of the year for the area.
Without tourism, there isn’t Wollombi, said David Allwood.
We’re pretty much tourist-driven, said Kylie Gemmell, the president of the Wollombi Valley Chamber of Commerce. She said about 90 per cent of the chamber’s 80 members were involved in tourism, so many had been struggling through summer.
David Allwood said it was vital to bring back the visitors, and quickly, because there’s so many people whose livehiloods are in question at the moment.
I think we will recover quickly, Kylie Gemmell said. We just need to be front of mind as a destination.”READ MORE