This on-line interactive digital eMag has been produced by Ask Ros Blue Mountains as a pictorial of what was perhaps the most challenging year the Blue Mountains community has ever faced. We thank Mayor Mark Greenhill for writing the foreword.
We have shared our photos from each week of the year. Through these photos, we have tried to reflect the positive side to living in and visiting the Blue Mountains, even when times are tough.
We often hear how tough 2020 has been. And it was hard. We came into the year with the nation ablaze. The Blue Mountains was surrounded on three sides by fire. Homes were lost. Over 70 percent of the World Heritage Area was impacted. Animals suffered awfully. Species loss occurred.
A community was in deep need of recovery. Then the rain came. While it helped put out the fire, there was a problem. It kept on coming. Houses and streets were flooded. Historic walks washed away. We even lost the rail line. As the clean up began, a virus brought the whole world to its knees.
The Blue Mountains was no exception. We stayed home. We entered a recession. Jobs were lost. Lives impacted. Through it all, I witnessed wonderful compassion. Firefighters going out day after day for months on end. Unceasingly.
Unselfishly. And yes, frankly, heroically (though they hate you saying that. This humility makes it more true to me). Community-supported them. Donated. Cheered them on. Cried with them. Prayed for them. Hoped for them. Our community uplifted them. We reached out our hearts to those who lost everything. Volunteers picked up wounded animals and tended them.
During COVID, volunteers delivered food parcels to the isolated. People took books to the lonely. Our Health workers and community workers stepped in as our firefighters took rest and served just as incredibly. Heroes all. We learned that real value, real leadership, comes from the frontline.
Those who care, clean, teach, drive, repair, build and more. Those who go out and keep our society going are the real leaders. They don’t wear suits and they aren’t paid enough. But they serve nonetheless. In 2021, I see more challenges but I also see hope.
That hope comes from the compassion that shone through this tough year. Hope in the eyes of the frontline workers everywhere. The volunteers. The paid. Those who go out and care for us and make community every day of their lives. What shone through for me, was humanity.
That is where I see hope. My best wishes to everyone as we come into this new year and enter 2021.
Wiser and together.
Councillor Mark Greenhill
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NB: All photos are original and © Ask Roz unless otherwise advised. The photos have the firefighters have been located publicly. If any are yours, please contact us, so we’ll arrange a credit.