Wednesday, September 23, 2009


SHB at dawn on 23rd September. Image by Marching Ants.
Sydney awoke today to red skies and a layer of dust on every exposed surface. The amazing images show a deep red tinge over everthing during the early morning light.

A massive dust-storm blew thousands of tonnes of topsoil from drought-stricken inland Australia over the east coast. Such dust storms are not unusual in a very dry country, though it is very unusual that one so large would make it to Australia's largest city. It was described by the Bureau of Meteorology as a "pretty incredible event" that was "the worst in at least 70 years, if not the history of the state".

I feel I have missed something significant in the life of my city. I would love to hear reflections from those who were there.

Our cities are built on dust and to dust they will return.


Meredith said...

It was incredible. I was up around dawn yesterday, and from out your window all I could see was a deep red glow. At first i thought it was a strange kind of fog, but when I opened the doors the air was warm and dry. It was really very strange.

Joel said he got grit in his mouth just from walking to the station. About half the kids stayed home from his school. It wasn't until early afternoon that i could actually see the sky...

I should have taken a photo when i got up - but i wasn't thinking too straight (and was busy feeding the baby!)

Matthew Moffitt said...

Having grown up in the Blue Mountains and been through a few bush fires, when I awoke I thought there was a huge fire in Sydney...for a second until I remembered all the facebook updates from the day before from people in Canberra about the dust storm.

I wore a dusk mask to work, and I wasn't the only one. But just working to the station I got dust in my eyes.

On ABC News Breakfast this morning they said most of the dust probably came from around Lake Eyre.

Jonathan said...

I thought of fire at first, too. It was like that Christmas Day near the beginning of the decade, only more intense. I got the camera out just as the scattered light red effect went.

Joanna found it quite interesting, but who knows what she made of it!

Mark Stevens said...

And I thought this was a post about Bono's attempts to change the world buy purchasing red ipods etc! ;-)

We get them here in Adelaide quite regularly. It is erie and sad (because you know farmers have lost).

Mike W said...

I feel the whole event passed me by because I got up too late to enjoy the super-redness. I'm usually fairly bleary eyed in the morning as it is, so I thought it was just fog.
So, don't feel too bad about missing it. It's like those advertisments for holidays by train, where they film the train from a helicopter, showing all the amazing scenery the train goes through, but when you are on the train all you can see is the tree in front of your window blurring past

michael jensen said...

I was up.

It was dusty.

It was eerily quiet.

sair said...

It was my day off, but I had to get up early to drive Dave to the station. In my half-sleep at around 6am I noticed a red glow around the closed blinds in the bedroom. I called out to Dave "check out the sunrise" and he told me it wasn't the sunrise, it was all misty. Turns out it wasn't mist.... I don't think it was quite as bad down here in Camden as it was in the middle of the city, and it cleared a lot earlier here than there. I was just hapy that I was inside, not walking around at uni like Dave!

Also, somehow our car ended up much dirtier than most other cars! We don't have a garage or anything, and because it had rained a little during the night our nice dark green car looked like someone had splashed orange paint all over it. It was pretty thick. Someone even made a comment about it to me when I was gettting out of the car in a car park. Most cars looked just like you would expect them to look after a trip through the outback.

Because our car was so bad, I got it washed on Thursday, and by Friday it was pretty dusty again, because although the dust 'storm' has gone, lots of dust was left behind, and it's been very windy since then, thus blowing around the dust that was left behind. It's a pity too, our car hasn't been so clean as it was for that one day for quite a while!