Residents should prepare for severe fires this summer, mayor Carol Sparks warns

Nicholas Fuller
Updated December 2 2019 - 1:45pm, first published December 1 2019 - 9:00am
Residents should prepare for severe fires this summer, mayor warns
Residents should prepare for severe fires this summer, mayor warns

Mayor Carol Sparks expects more dangerous fires to follow this summer, like those that devastated Wytaliba, Torrington, and other villages last month.

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Nicholas Fuller

Nicholas Fuller

Group Journalist - Northern Tablelands

The exciting thing about journalism is the variety; one can explore the world, meet interesting people and write about it. I've sat in the caravan of an African circus ringmaster; I've squatted on my haunches in a plastic-sorting factory in the Mumbai slums, talking to the workers and drinking hot chai in plastic cups the size of thimbles; and I've interviewed Chinese cultural attachés, Danish football stars and Japanese drummers. Now I’ve come to the Northern Tablelands as a group journalist working across six of Fairfax’s mastheads. Living in New England is a return to country. My father’s side of the family lived here since the 19th century. My great-great-grandparents are buried in Ben Lomond. My great-grandmother and grandmother spent most of their lives in and around Glencoe and Glen Innes, and are both buried in Tamworth. My grandfather isn’t; his ashes are in a cupboard until we throw them in the Macdonald, near Bendemeer, where he used to fish. And my father cut his teeth as a cadet journalist on the Northern Daily Leader, before moving to Canberra, and studied history at UNE. Moving here is following in the family footsteps. Armidale seems charming: up here, in Australia’s highest city, one feels close to the sky. And the mixture of 1830s historic buildings; green, rain-washed hills, crowned with conifers; and one of the country’s leading universities give it a unique appeal. I completed my journalism qualifications last year, while freelancing for newspapers and magazines, and holding down a full-time job. I spent the end of last year in Sri Lanka, where I reported on visiting Buddhist dignitaries (from exotic Perth), UN development programs, Italian food weeks, and hotels in former war-zones. Previously, I worked as a writer and editor for the Australian Government in Canberra for a decade. In my day job, I briefed members of parliament about international relations, and wrote about agricultural aid programs to developing countries. Journalism, though, is where my heart lies. I want to experience life, rather than sit behind a desk. And, having grown up in Belgium, I want to be Tintin. I hope to get to know and love the region where my ancestors lived, while reporting on issues important to the Tablelands.

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