To say it has been a tough week for interNATIONAL PARKtours, Binna Burra Lodge, the Groom family and our Beechmont community would be an understatement. We would like to take this opportunity to update you on our situation and thank you for all of your support.
As you may have seen via various news sources, a very large bushfire recently swept through our piece of paradise. For more than two weeks, fires have been burning in the Gold Coast Hinterland. On the afternoon of Friday 6 September, Binna Burra and the southern end of Beechmont (including our office in Timbarra Drive) were evacuated and eight homes in Timbarra Drive were lost that night. Early on Saturday 7 September, Binna Burra Lodge was destroyed in the fire along with Alcheringa, our original Groom family home down the hill from the main lodge. Amazingly, the historic Groom’s cottage, pottery shed, Binna Burra campground and the Lamington Tea House have escaped damage. Please note Binna Burra and the last 3km of the road will not be accessible to the public for some time until they re-establish the safety of access and services. On all levels, it’s been a heartbreaking time for the whole family with the loss spanning four generations – from my grandparents, founder Arthur Groom & family matriarch Marjorie Groom (whose small cottage was next to Alcheringa) to my own children Luke and Inari who both worked part-time at Binna Burra. All of our staff and guides who live in the area were safe in the evacuations and the interNATIONAL PARKtours office, my house and my brother, Dave’s house and art studio were miraculously spared.
We want to thank the Rural Fire Brigade and all Emergency Services for their amazing response and effort in saving so many homes in the neighbourhood. interNATIONAL PARKtours’ very own Suzanne Noakes and Barry Davies are volunteers of the Beechmont Rural Fire Brigade and have been actively fighting fires for the past two weeks. We are all in awe of their courage and strength during this time. We are also grateful for the beautiful community we live in, and the support they have given over this challenging time.
Due to our office shed being destroyed during the fire, our power and phone lines were damaged so we have been working remotely for almost two weeks from various cafes and local homes. Our office phones and emails have remained operational throughout this time, thanks to our dedicated staff. We would like to thank our understanding guests, tour leaders and all operators if we have been a little harder to contact than usual! We have only just returned to the IPT office today (Thu 19/09) as all services came back online.
Lastly, we would like to thank all of our past and present guests who have reached out to us with love and support. We may not have personally replied to your phone calls or emails but your warm sentiments have meant so much. It's been a very emotional week for my father Tony, brother Dave and our respective families. We have visited the ruins of Binna Burra plus the family home of Alcheringa (home of our matriarchs, Marjorie and Connie). The picture below is of Tony and I in front of Groom's cottage this week. We are now calming our adrenaline filled bodies and focusing back on the wonderful world of walking holidays.
Lisa and the interNATIONAL PARKtours team