News and Media

Footage of the Victorian bushfires on Black Saturday

April 11, 2009

February’s bushfires destroyed families, homes and livelihoods, but out of the devastation, stories of survival and heroism continue to emerge. One such story is that of Robert Ross and his family from Clonbinane. Robert’s mother Pam, a generous supporter of The Lost Dogs’ Home, offered to share this incredible story:

"I would like to tell you the amazing story of my son’s survival and that of his pets. I know every one has a story to tell but this is his.

My son lived at Clonbinane near Wandong , where he and his wife Lee shared their home with their baby son Riley, Miffy the Labrador, Jack the Jack Russell, Gary and Glitter the goats, Puddy and Ginger the cats, two horses, two ferrets and fifteen chooks.

On Black Saturday, things started to look bad so my daughter-in-law Lee left early with the baby and two dogs while my son stayed to try and protect the house and pets.When the wind changed he put all the animals except the horses and chooks in his car. He cut the fences to give the horses their best chance and let the chooks out of their shed. As he was hosing the house he saw the flames coming towards him. He jumped in his car and started to try and out run the fire. His entry was blocked so had to drive through paddocks smashing through fence after fence. He nearly got bogged in a creek bed but found a way out. He drove blind for about 10 kilometres until he found a road which he followed until he found a dam. He collected all the pets: he put the goats in the damn on their leads and placed the cats and the ferrets in their cages on the edge of the dam half in half out and covered them all with a blanket. Minutes later the fire went right over their heads. After a couple of hours of sitting in the dam and sharing it with about twenty kangaroos, he was found by chance by the CFA. They took him back to the fire station where he had to stay up all night helping the firemen defend the station. We finally heard from him at 5:30am on Sunday morning.

Unfortunately they have lost their home and the horses died. They found three chooks still alive and amazingly the chook shed was still standing with five eggs in the nest. Every thing else has gone I can only thank God my son is alive but I grieve the loss of their horses, their home and mostly their dream of living in the country with their beloved pets. They had only been there for four months and were just starting to enjoy their new life. Hope you don’t mind me sharing this story with you all I can say is my son is my hero".   Pam Ross

Robert Ross took a mobile phone video of what he thought were to be his last moments. Below is an incredible footage of Robert with his animals amidst Australia’s biggest natural disaster.