Bruce Pascoe in his book "Dark Emu" describes the landscape when Europeans arrived in Australia as parkland setting.
In fact early landscape painters have been accused of getting it wrong when their paintings reflected a parkland, yet Pascoe points out that this was indeed what they saw.
Early records also describe settlers galloping through the forests.
We have changed the landscape immeasurably since European settlement and one of the things we have done, amongst others, is to change it into a landscape made for burning.
At The Margaret River Fire and Biodiversity Forum a week ago, scientists repeated this claim that since European settlement we have transformed Australia into a more flammable landscape.
In the face of climate change we need to listen to the scientists and historians and begin the long haul to try to return Australia closer to its original landscape.
This landscape had been created through the Indigenous population's approach to managing it over thousands of years; cool trickle burning, manipulation of grazing animals, vegetable crops and less flammable grasses.
We have to listen to these scientists and Indigenous leaders who have the evidence.
And the evidence is that prescribed burning is happening too often, too hot and over too large an area resulting in a greater risk from bushfires not less.
Fortunately nowadays we have greater scope to know what's happening in the forest and for fast response planes and fire trucks when outbreaks of fire occur.
This letter can do no more than encourage people to begin to question the prescribed burning regime our forests are being subjected to.
Together with the impact of climate change, wildfires can make a hell out of our environment with tremendous cost to human life, infrastructure, plant and animal biodiversity.
Sally Wylie, Margaret River
I too would like to apologise...
In response to this appalling letter (We're Sorry..., Letters 16/6) I too would like to apologise - to any tourist that may read it!
Your letter was full of personal and emotional content that has no place in the service industry of our predominantly tourist based economy and does nothing but reflect precisely what the original letter was about.
Yes tourists have expectations and they have every right to.
After a day spent out in our region contributing to our economy why shouldn't they be able to come back to town in the afternoon to patronise a café or spend up in our retail outlets?
A business owners personal woes or private difficulties should not be something a tourist has to consider at all, certainly not when confronted with a myriad of closed businesses, even for something as simple as a coffee should they have to think 'oh the owners must have a hard life, its ok'.
It is not unreasonable to come to town, especially over a long weekend, and expect businesses to be open and ready to provide the service tourists expect and need.
If you make your own business decision to close then don't come back all defensive when a tourist expresses their disappointment.
Chris Turner, Margaret River
Here we go again...
Another weekend, another disgruntled person complaining that they can't find what they're looking for in our town. When will personal responsibility come into play?
If I arrive in a town (or a country, or anywhere) where I am not a regular, I don't expect the local community to instantly jump to attention to make sure my stay is perfect and without disappointment.
There have been times when I have walked the 'main street' of a place and grown frustrated that everything is closed, only to realise after I've given up that I have missed a stretch of great local spots just a few streets away.
That's my fault, for arriving unprepared and not taking the time to stop and do a quick bit of research.
I didn't rush home to vent my frustration online.
I might have mentioned to a few friends how I found it hard to find a restaurant/bar/hotel/parking space but I didn't go out of my way to post nasty reviews, as another visitor has already done on the ever-reliable TripAdvisor.
How can you review a business (based on service, product, value etc) if by your own admission you couldn't even get in the door?
How about sending them a message or email saying that you were disappointed?
Imagine closing your cafe or restaurant early one afternoon due to a terrible emergency, only to find the next day someone has torn your business to shreds because you said you were open BUT YOU WEREN'T!
Give the human beings behind these businesses a chance to explain and to invite you back if you're so inclined.
Give us a chance to recommend one of our other wonderful local spots, if we have to close.
Just because we're in the country doesn't mean we're hopeless bumpkins with no idea about tourism and hospitality.
Try asking for help on the spot (instead of waiting to lambast us online), you'll see how eager we are to welcome you.
Name Withheld, Margaret River
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