Victorian bush-fire book donation
South Australians collecting books for victims of the Victorian bush fires

Mar
28

This week was a special one again. Wednesday we got a call from a reporter from the Advertiser newspaper, that we have been nominated for a pride of Australia medal 2009. We pointed the reporter to this website and answered his questions. One hour later there was a photographer in our house to take around 50 shots per minute of us with books. So funny! Today they put an article in the paper, see for yourself (click on the picture to see a larger format):

Article on page 34 of The Advertiser 28/03/2009

Article on page 34 of The Advertiser 28/03/2009

Advertisements
Mar
26

Last weekend we were at the retreat with Eckhart Tolle in Coolum, Queensland. We went there with Alex & Mark and for all of us this was a very special weekend. Not only the Hyatt resort is very nice and the golf course (for Mark) was excellent, the swimming pools were really cool, but …..

The atmosphere in the tent and the very humorous talk by Eckhart was indescribable, there are just no words for the feeling. Anyone who has ever the opportunity (and remember you create your own!), go visit him.

Eckhart Tolle in Coolum

Eckhart Tolle in Coolum

Alex, Edwin, Petra and Mark in Coolum

Alex, Edwin, Petra and Mark in Coolum

Mar
14

We just added a gallery of all pictures we took during our journey (see pages menu on right). There is no description of each picture, but they are in date/time sequence. The first few are made during the first 2 weeks of preparation and book collection/re-packing.

The journey from Willunga, South Australia, to Victoria started Monday 23/03/2009. We drove to Halls Gap in the Grampions where we stayed in the Kookaburra Motel. Tuesday we continued the trip to Kilsyth, Brumby Books warehouse, where we picked up around 500 “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle books and that night we stayed on the relief site in Lilydale. Wednesday morning we drove to Yarra Glen, to deliver the books we had in the trailer from SA. We went to Healesville and on the way we stopped to update this website next to a burnt area (nice horse looking at us). The relief centre was in transit and could not accept any books. Near the evening we got the message that the 6 pallets of between 30 and 40 thousand books had arrived at Brumby warehouse. That night we stayed with an IT colleague in Healesville.

Thursday morning we left early to Brumby warehouse to collect the first pallet of books and drove all the way to Whittlesea and delivered the entire trailer load to the relief centre there. The same day we drove to Brumby warehouse again to collect the second pallet (+ some more) of boxes and arrived back in Whittlesea just before 5pm. We delivered one pallet of books into the new relief centre area behind the oval and spent the night on the oval next to the firefighters and homeless people of Kinglake area.

Next morning, Friday, we delivered a box of “A New Earth” to the firefighters canteen and, because the police refused us access to Kinglake, we delivered the remaining boxes of books in the relief centre in Whittlesea. We drove back to Brumby warehouse to load the as much as we could in the trailer (nearly 2 pallets) and drove to Yarra Glen. There we met beautiful Shannon, who escorted us all the way to Kinglake. Our car struggled at times to get up the hill with this heavy load, but we made it to the centre of Kinglake. The relief centre there could accept most of the boxes with books and we drove further to Kinglake West to see if that centre could accept books. They couldn’t and we drove back to Kinglake where we delivered most of the boxes and left a few for Yarra Glen. We took a full load of other goods from Kinglake back to Yarra Glen. That night we stayed in the Grand Hotel in Yarra Glen.

Saturday we went back to Brumby warehouse to collect the last pallet of books and drove all the way via Yarra Glen, Yea to Alexandra. We delivered all the boxes and labelled some to go to the Marysville Primary school. Also we gave a box of “A New Earth” to the firefighters. That night we stayed with family in Beaconsfield and Sunday we drove to Halls Gap and stayed in the same Motel. Monday night we arrived back home in Willunga, South Australia, a very inspiring story richer.

Next weekend we will attend a retreat session with Eckhart Tolle, who we will meet for the first time. We are very much looking forward to this event and we let you know how it was after next weekend.

Mar
04

We came back home in Willunga, South Australia, on Monday night (2 March 2009). Our trip back took 2 days again and we stayed overnight in Hall’s Gap, the Kookaburra motel, again. John of the motel was very kind and let us stay for free, thank you John! The trip back was very uneventful and that is what we wanted off course.

Remove signage from trailer

Removing signage from trailer

Tuesday morning we cleaned the trailer, took the signage off and returned it to Brooks Trailers in Morphett Vale. We must say this trailer has been very good, sometimes we even didn’t notice we had a trailer behind us. Thanks you very much Malcolm.

For us, Edwin and Petra, this trip has been a real loving experience. We read “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle and many other inspiring books from other authors. The sole reason we embarked on this adventure was to live what we have gained in knowledge.

It has been really amazing how everything just flowed and fell in place at the right time. People we meet at the moment we need them. For us the most special meeting was in Kinglake just after we arrived  with a woman who lost her house and all her books and started smiling when she saw the book donations trailer. This morning we sent an SMS to the Victorian ABC talk-back radio, to John, in the hope he would remind his listeners that there are many books in the relief centers of Yarra Glen, Whittlesea, Kinglake and Alexandra.

For us this journey is over for now and we know the fires are still raging in many areas of Victoria and the psychological burden of having to evacuate for the fourth time is heavy. We hope it will soon end and people will find comfort in the compassion expressed by so many. Our warm thanks go to everyone who helped us to fulfill our dream, thanks.

Mar
01

Yesterday after we updated this website with the pictures we drove for the last time to the Brumby Books warehouse. Before we left we got a phone call from Fay, who is an organiser in the Healesville relief center. We went Wednesday to this center and she said they were about to relocated the center, so could not accept more donations. She asked us to go to Alexandra and donate the children books to the Marysville Primary school, to a good friend of her who is involved in that school. That is funny we already thought of going Alexandra! The storage manager, Graydon, came from home to open the warehouse and we quickly loaded the last pallet of books into the trailer. Thanks heaps, Graydon and Brumby Books for your help!

We have a good feeling about the name Alexandra (Petra’s daughter has the same name), so we headed of toward Yea, had a beautiful lunch there and then drove to Alexandra. A lot of activity in this place, police and firetrucks everywhere. We stopped before a bookshop in the Main street and two nice people walked passed. Petra asked them where the relief center is and they directly offered to guide us. These two lovely people are both active in the CFA and brought us to the goods relief center. This very well organised center was also “full”, but after a few minutes and explaining that some boxes can go to the Marysville Primary school, we could put all the boxes on a pallet. The volunteer Kelly, who is from Canada, the country where Eckhart Tolle lives, even gave us a big role of glad wrap to protect the pallet! Very nice. Some other people in that center explained kindly to us the extent of the fires and the massive operation going on. We saw Elvis landing and quickly leave again. Later we went to the cricket ground, what has been converted into a helicopter base.

Carr and Edwin near helicopters in Alexandra

Carr and Edwin near helicopters in Alexandra

We also went to the CFA and Staging Center for the firefighters and gave them a box of “A New Earth”. We are very happy all went so well and all books have found a good location.

We drove back 100 kms to Yarra Glen, where Petra saw a tree fallen apart after the fires:

Tree near Yarra Glen

Tree near Yarra Glen

We continued to Beaconsfield and stayed with Petra’s family, had a lovely night and a very nice bed. Now we have to head back to South Australia. When we are back home we will post some more photos in a seperate page.

Every body who helped us: THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!

Feb
28
Here are some picture of Thursday evening and Friday. You can click on each picture to see a larger version.

camping in Whittlesea showground
camping in Whittlesea showground
Firefighters in Whittlesea showgrounds

Firefighters in Whittlesea showgrounds

Edwin in Kinglake goods relief center

Edwin in Kinglake goods relief center

Volunteers having a break in Kinglake

Volunteers having a break in Kinglake

Road from Kinglake to Yarra Glen

Road from Kinglake to Yarra Glen

We are now on our way to pick up the last pallet of books, which we will bring to Alexandra today.

Feb
27

Today, Friday, was by far the most impressive and best flowing day of our journey so far. This morning we had a chat with a man who lost his house and his daughter also lost her house, we were so happy he accepted 3 copies of “A New Earth”. We are still on the showgrounds in Whittlesea, next to 50+ fire trucks, hundreds of firefighters and tents. It has been forecasted to be a hot day with a lot of wind, so everbody is on high alert again. We went to the police post to ask for permission to enter Kinglake. Unfortunately this police crew was very strict; no contact or escort, no entry. That we accepted without any hesitation.

We put the rest of our load on a new pallet in the large tent and a helpful woman on a forklift parked the books in the tent, we hope they will reach the intended people. Then we drove all the way back to Brumby Books warehouse, to collect the largest load of books yet, two pallets we emptied. Probably a little over the load limit, but without any problems we drove to Yarra Glen, the place we went to first day. All our books were neatly on display and it looks like many books were taken already. The receiving officer, not a happy reader, said that we could not donate more books to this center. In the mean time Petra spoke with a lovely girl, Shannon, who turned out to be our saving angel. She has read some of Eckhart Tolle’s books, which was no surprise to us.

She said she had to go to Kinglake anyway and we could follow her (car with number 171 in it), with the entire load of books we went up hill to the police checkpoint (no match for angel smiles!) and we drove through the utter devastation to Kinglake. This area is really damaged severely and it is obvious people need mental support here. When we arrived in Kinglake goods relief center, a sombre looking woman walked passed and her face just lit up; she said she lost her house and all her books and she was very happy to see us arrive with two pallets full of books in the trailer. The people in the relief center were very helpful and although the place was “full”, we managed to find a good spot for around 20 large boxes with books. We cleaned the corner a bit and carted most boxes out the trailer, while members of the Greek Orthodox church in their large black dresses donated cleaning materials.

Shannon said there is another relief center in Kinglake West and we went up there with around 8 boxes left in the trailer. That center was in the process of relocating and they could not store anything more, so we had to return to Kinglake, where we could store the rest of the boxes with books, except 2, which went to Yarra Glen. Before we went back we loaded many other relief material in our trailer to take back to Yarra Glen relief center.

We were so happy we could bring a large portion of the books to the hardest hit area. Now we had a beautiful shower in the Yarra Glen Grand hotel and are relaxing (falling asleep) in the old fashioned but well maintained room. You don’t see that a lot anymore that hotels actually have nice rooms.

So tomorrow we have 1 more pallet to pick up at Brumby Books and Graydon, the storage manager, will gladly return to work to open the business for us. We have some more pictures of this day, but Petra is asleep and we get these out of the camera tomorrow after a good sleep.

Feb
26

Last night we stayed with friends in Healesville. We checked the goods relief center first, but they have to move this weekend and could not accept books now.
Early today we filled the entire trailer and headed to Whittlesea, near Kinglake.
The relief operation here is huge and people were happy to accept the entire trailer load. And more… so we navigated back to the Brumby warehouse to fill the trailer again. Just before 5pm we arrived back in Whittlesea and were directed to the showground storage tent. We put one pallet of boxes in the huge tent and a nice guy suggested to take the rest directly to Kinglake. So we spoke to the police to get a permit, which we will get tomorrow. Now we camp among the firefighters, more tomorrow…was a long day and we are happy with the progress so far.

Feb
25

We just visited the small town of Yarra Glen. The friendly people of the relief center pointed us to the old IGA building where goods relief is organised. We were given a warm welcome by the staff of the center. What we noticed straight away is how well this center is organised. The manager, Peter, was very happy to receive all the books we were carrying all the way from South Australia. See below how the volunteers helped us to unload the first load of books:

Old IGA warehouse in Yarra Glen

Old IGA warehouse in Yarra Glen

We are very happy with this first step in delivery of books. Now we have to wait for a phone call that the 6 pallets have arrived and we can continue delivering books.

Blogging in burnt countryWe love technology, isn’t it great that you can sit in the middle of the country and blog away. At the moment we are on our way to Healesville to prepare for potential book donations to the relief center there. We just entered the burnt country, all around us is black and more black.

Feb
25

It was a long journey to get to Brumby Books warehouse in Kilsyth, it took us 1 and half day. We spent the Monday night in Halls Gap, the Kookaburra motel, where John provided us with a nice room for half the rate. Thanks. We had so much head wind that in some places we only could go 70 km/h.

Yesterday afternoon we arrived in Kilsyth and loaded half of our Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth” books. The cover is now purple and it shows they already sold more than 6 million copies. Monday afternoon we got the message from Fred that all our 6 pallets have left McLaren Vale. We hope they will arrive Wednesday in Kilsyth. We have currently a little more then half the trailer filled with books, so we better get going.

That afternoon we were a little lost, we called the Warragul council again and they were going to call us back again. Nothing yet, so we thought we go to the closest relief centre in Narre Warren, when we arrived there these centres were closed already. We decided to go back through the country side and ended up in the Post office of Upper Beaconsfield. The man behind the counter was very helpful and he pointed us to Lilydale, where he knew there is a relief centre still in operation. Following our GPS we went past an ongoing fire near Lysterfield and ended up before the pub in Lilydale. While we enjoyed a quick meal,  someone we met 2 weeks ago in McLaren Vale put a nice note under our windscreen-wiper, they live in Belgrave and invited us to visit them. What is the chance of that happening!

We asked the nice waitress in the pub where the relief centre was and she said on the oval, just behind the pub. Awesome, we drove on to the camp to find only two friendly army personel and many empty tents. All people left already, but the camp will be left there for Thursday and Friday when very warm and dangerous weather is expected. There are many horses in the back of the camp and they said we could go there and ask if we could stay.

So we did, we found very nice people camping down and looking after many of their own horses. We put our tent up and had a wonderful night and learned so much about the environment and fires. It seems we’re back on track again! This is where we stayed:

Horse camp at Lilydale relief center

Horse camp at Lilydale relief center

This morning we had small breakfast in the camp and we were just about to leave for Yarra Glen relief center, that Michela returned from bringing their kids to school and said: Listen to the radio, John was talking to David, a teacher of the Kinglake Primary school. This school has been burned down completely and they might like some books. So Edwin called John on the ABC radio and in minutes got through and chatted briefly about our journey and that we would like to talk to David. Still in Lilydale we updated the blog and then we leave for Yarra Glen, where we hope to be able to donate some of the books we have with us.