Maltby man's worry after losing touch with niece surrounded by Australian bushfires

By Michael Upton | 10/01/2020

Maltby man's worry after losing touch with niece surrounded by Australian bushfires

A ROTHERHAM man has told of his fears for his niece after she was cut off from communication from the widespread bush fires tearing through Australia.

Dave Brennan, of Ryton Close, Maltby, said he had not heard from his 75-year-old niece Veronica Nicholas since mobile phone masts succumbed to the blazes in New South Wales.

He said: “Veronica lives right in the middle of where the fires are at their worst. It’s a place called Lismore, right on the coast. 

“I have tried to contact her but as she is only on a mobile phone, I have been informed that all the masts are down and I’m not getting a reply to my emails either.”

Large areas of New South Wales have been destroyed by the raging fires, which have followed drought conditions of up to a year and temperatures pushing 50 deg C.

Veronica visited Dave in Maltby in 2012 (see pictured above) — the first time they had seen each other since they were aged six and eight respectively.

“Over the Christmas holidays, I was getting more concerned about her,” Dave added.

“I contacted Australia House who put me in touch with Red Cross Australia, who were kind enough to put me right through to the local police. 

“But it wasn’t a good line and I’m afraid his strong Aussie accent got in the way. 

“But because I was told that the lines are down, I’m a bit more settled. 
“Veronica is now divorced and living on her own. She has two daughters but they live a good distance from her.

Lismore is a small town in northern New South Wales, close to the Pacific Coast and around 100 miles from Brisbane.

Dave (77) said he had been told by the Australian police officer “not to be too concerned” but added: “That’s easier to say than to do.

“All I can do is wait for news and hopefully when the lines are back up I will here from her.”

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