‘Hello dream’: Bilpin’s day of reckoning

New text content photographer, it’s not just a job. Seeing his
home town in flames was devastating.

January 24, 2020

The Sydney Morning Herald’s chief photographer Nick Moir has spent the last few months documenting the bushfires.
But on December 15, the Gospers Mountain fire turned towards the area Moir had grown up in. He was there to document the week that residents from Bilpin and surrounding communities battled
the blazes.
The fire would hit Bilpin three times, each time leaving a trail of devastation – with iconic sites like Tutti Fruitti and parts of the Blue
Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah, completely destroyed.

Nick Moir Chief photographer

“This season is really what I’ve been, unfortunately, training for for the last 20 years really. It was off the scale.”

Moir grew up in the lower Blue Mountains and said watching the towns he had known all his life burn was like “looking at an alternate reality.”
“I have known these places for most of my life, but to see them on fire was heartbreaking.”
The Gospers Mountain fire started when lightning struck the Blue Mountains on October 26.
On December 15, a backburn gets out of control and joins up with the Gospers Mountain fire. On December 19, fire sweeps through parts of Bilpin and surrounding communities.

Two days later, Bilpin is hit hard, with iconic fruit-picking store Tutti Fruitti and several properties destroyed.
By January 21, the monster fire had destroyed more than 512,626 hectares.