In Australia we tend to remember and thank the paramedics, firefighters, police, the SES at this time of year because this is when, as a country and communities within, we get into the most trouble.

Summer is a time for holidaying, camping in the mountains, fishing, swimming in the sea and tragically many of us get into trouble and have to be helped.

Anyone who has visited will know Australia is a beautiful country with stunning landscapes along the coast...

Wilson’s Prom
Photo by K B / Unsplash

in the interior....

For thousands of years, aboriginal people brought their children here to teach them ancient stories infused with old wisdom, life lessons about how to treat others and live in harmony with the nature. They still do. If you slow down a bit and listen to their stories, you can see it for yourself how they are written into the red walls of Uluru, how its features act as characters in old plays and how every furrow and stone has its own meaning. This is the place to bow in front of our mother nature and its extraordinary element, resting majestically in the middle of endless desert…
Photo by Ondrej Machart / Unsplash

And up into the mountains.

One of my favourite Australian artists is John Wilson who lives in the Blue Mountains close to Sydney. I have chosen one of his landscapes to illustrate the spectacular beauty of our mountains.

But Australia is also a harsh and unforgiving country which at the moment is experiencing the highest temperatures ever recorded here. The heat coupled with the drought that a large portion of the country is suffering ignites the threat of bushfires which have always been a part of the Australian landscape but now are occurring months earlier than normal.

The oil painting below by early Australian artist Eugene von Guerard shows the destructive force of nature in Western Victoria in 1859.

Bengal Tiger

Bushfire

(Culture Victoria)

So please, let us take a moment to thank and reflect on the huge sacrifice made every day by the First Responders around the globe. I have chosen this powerful digital image of a fireman by Ben Hoole to represent the courage and dedication possessed by firefighters, police, paramedics, Special Emergency Service people.

And a very special mention and thank you to the thousands of volunteers who are part of the firefighting teams and Special Emergency Services.