It took 20 minutes from when the call came through at 11.54am for the first fire truck to reach the scene of the Carwoola blaze. It took just 20 minutes more for the fire to be declared a significant event.
By that stage, the Queanbeyan fire control knew the flames would impact property and it was just a matter of determining who and what would be affected and to what extent.
Across the capital region, pagers were buzzing and phones ringing as the call went out to alert the volunteers to the emergency.
Vanessa and Kevin Lindley had a plan to stay and defend their property. They had ample water and equipment, but they weren’t expecting the ferocity.
When flames twice the height of their machinery shed bared down on them and their family home, they fled. Their home was one of 11 that were considered total losses.
While still troubled by the events of that day, one year on and the Lindleys are back living on their property in a transportable home.
Initially it took four months for the insurance payments to come through. They were living in a caravan on their property for 30 weeks until their new home arrived, and waited just a day for it to be put in place - complete with a stunning view of the Carwoola valley.
“It’s taken us the whole year to get 70 per cent back on our feet,” Kevin Lindley said.
The Lindleys were hoping for closure through the court case, but were disappointed to learn the two tradesmen responsible, who pleaded guilty to failing to follow a total fire ban by using tools that sparked the fire, were fined less in total than the Lindleys paid in insurance excess.
The men were fined $3200 and $2100 respectively.
Since the fires, Mrs Lindley has gone back to work at a childcare to distract her from the devastating events of that day. Mr Lindley lost all his precious, expensive tools he’d collected over a lifetime and is such unable to work in the same capacity.
But when a “beautiful” wedge-tail eagle soars past their balcony, it still feels like home, they said. “It has set us back about 10 years. We were just starting to slow down. But you’ve just got to keep going, keep moving forward,” Mr Lindley said.