Family watches as flames destroy shack 


MERRILYN Williams and her children watched from an evacuation boat as the first flames took hold of their holiday property near Dodges Ferry.

Yesterday Mrs Williams, of West Hobart, told how she and her children had been evacuated after a sudden wind change on Friday night.

The fire took their 50-year-old shack, three rental homes, their cars - even the family's Christmas presents.

But one of the things Mrs Williams was most worried about yesterday was the stock on their Connellys Marsh property.

"We haven't lost that much of our livestock at the moment," she said. "But there's not much feed left for the sheep."

Mrs Williams, husband John and their children - Lilian, 13 and Monty, 8 - are among more than 100 families across the state to lose their properties in the bushfires over the weekend.

Their property at Connellys Marsh, between Dunalley and Primrose Sands, included the shack that belonged to Mrs Williams's mother, the rental properties, a shed and a few cars.

Mrs Williams said she, the children, family friend Adelaide Cain, 13, and her mother, Margaret Lawrence, had been to the beach just down the road from the shack before the wind suddenly changed and they had to evacuate.

Mr Williams was on his way to the shack from West Hobart but didn't get there because of the fire.

"I was evacuated on a sea patrol boat about 9.30 Friday night," Mrs Williams said.

"I could see on the boat that the farm had caught fire and thought there wouldn't be anything left."

When the family returned to Connellys Marsh at 1.30pm yesterday, that thought became reality. There was nothing left - even the children's Christmas presents were gone.

"The kids have been very brave about it - they were more happy that we were all safe," Mrs Williams said.

She described the feeling around the town yesterday as sombre.


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