Out of the ashes of the Peregian fires is an amazing rebirth of fresh green shoots.
Out of the ashes of the Peregian fires is an amazing rebirth of fresh green shoots.

How fire-ravaged bush came back in a snap

Photographer Barbora Tomikova did not capture any phoenixes rising when documenting the amazing rebirth of fire-ravaged Peregian bushland but there were glimpses of surviving kangaroos.

The surf-loving, Slovakian-raised Sunshine Beach snapper’s year-long photo documentation of the fire recovery will be a showpiece of Peregian’s one-year on reflection on the near disaster.

“It was pretty much the first time that I got to being close to a bushfire like that,” Ms Tomikova said.

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“As a photographer, I’m quite curious so I just wanted to have a look at what the landscape looked like and how it changed after the fire.”

Her first forays into the scorched earth were just days after the fire with the landscape still smoking as she went back about every second day to capture her images.

Barbora Tomikova is loving the Sunshine Beach lifestyle but is fascinated by the area's response to massive fire outbreaks last year.
Barbora Tomikova is loving the Sunshine Beach lifestyle but is fascinated by the area's response to massive fire outbreaks last year.

She concentrated on the area behind the Peregian IGA which came under direct threat from intense flames.

“The whole regeneration and the process of the plants coming back to life just happened so fast,” she said.

“It was growing really, really fast … I was very amazed how fast.

“The first plants I noticed coming back were the grass trees, it was within the first week they had the first shoots and spikes.

“Within three weeks they were taller than me and after a month she said these hardy bush favourites were flowering again.”

She said there were few wildlife sightings in the first few weeks, apart from spiders and some ants.

“I started seeing kangaroos just crossing, and I think one of the really beautiful experiences was when the grass trees started to flower,” Ms Tomikova said.

Looking to capture the natural regeneration of the Peregian bush.
Looking to capture the natural regeneration of the Peregian bush.

“They had so much nectar on the flowers, that all the birds started coming in so the whole area was alive with birds.

“You could just see all the life returning which was just beautiful.”

Later Ms Tomikova turned her attention to Cooroibah where her focus eventually changed from the landscape to the residential recoveries.

“I started talking to the people and started doing interviews which I recorded,” she said.

“I’m trying to record what’s happening because it was so significant, there hasn’t been a fire like that in Noosa.

“I got to go inside some of the houses before they were demolished and they’re part of the archive.”

Ms Tomikova said now she could not recognise most of these burn out areas as they were totally green.

“It’s as if the whole biosphere thrives on the fires, it’s something I’m looking at for the long term because I want to learn more about it,” she said.

“It’s a good time to stop and look back because we hadn’t really processed the whole thing with the fires and then the pandemic hit us.

“For the people still living in the area it’s still their reality.”

Ms Tomikova’s exhibition is at Peregian Beach Community House with Noosa Council inviting residents can enjoy a free morning tea while viewing her work entitled State of Emergency.

Cooroibah post fires has become part of Barboara Tomikova's focus of interest.
Cooroibah post fires has become part of Barboara Tomikova's focus of interest.

Noosa Mayor Clare Stewart will attend the event on September 12 from 9am until 11am along with Deputy Mayor and Peregian Beach resident Frank Wilkie and environmental co-ordinator of Peregian Beach Community Association Rochelle Gooch.

There will also be music, face painting and information on disaster preparedness.

“It’s also an opportunity for residents to renew their focus on their bushfire preparedness for the upcoming fire, storm and cyclone season,” Cr Stewart said.


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