‘I’ve lost a lot’: Cooktown bushfire damage bill climbs

A DISORIENTED stumble through thick smoke as thousands of dollars' worth of her property burned to warped shells could have ended much worse for Gypsy Watkinson.

The Cooktown woman has returned to her home after bushfires ravaged the area on Sunday to find serious damage - but she still has her life.

Ms Watkinson said the fast-moving fire on her property was blocking her from leaving in her car so she had no option but to make her way to safety on foot.

Fortunately, a neighbour discovered her through the thick smoke.

Cooktown woman Gypsy Watkinson had to quickly evacuate from her property after bushfires tore through, destroying quad bikes, tools, furnishings and sentimental personal objects. PICTURE: SUPPLIED
Cooktown woman Gypsy Watkinson had to quickly evacuate from her property after bushfires tore through, destroying quad bikes, tools, furnishings and sentimental personal objects. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

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"I had to stumble my way through our paddocks and those of a neighbouring property, very disoriented, and got picked up by another neighbour," Ms Watkinson said.

"I then realised my direct neighbour had not left his property. He's got some disabilities such as blindness and deafness."

The other neighbour was also taken to safety and nobody was badly injured in the fire, although there was serious damage to property.

Cooktown woman Gypsy Watkinson had to quickly evacuate from her property after bushfires tore through, destroying quad bikes, tools, furnishings and sentimental personal objects. PICTURE: SUPPLIED
Cooktown woman Gypsy Watkinson had to quickly evacuate from her property after bushfires tore through, destroying quad bikes, tools, furnishings and sentimental personal objects. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

"While I've lost a lot, there are still some structural buildings standing," Ms Watkinson said.

"All sentimental items are gone, motorbikes, quads, hundreds of dollars' worth of tools and some furnishings."

She said she had been impressed by the way the community had immediately pulled together.

Cooktown woman Gypsy Watkinson had to quickly evacuate from her property after bushfires tore through, destroying quad bikes, tools, furnishings and sentimental personal objects. PICTURE: SUPPLIED
Cooktown woman Gypsy Watkinson had to quickly evacuate from her property after bushfires tore through, destroying quad bikes, tools, furnishings and sentimental personal objects. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

"Cooktowners are remarkably resilient people," Ms Watkinson said. "The local community has been amazing, supporting their own once again."

Ironically, Ms Watkinson said she helped organise the bushfire appeal barbecue at the Cooktown Hardware when fires were burning down south earlier this year.

Cook Shire Council is still warning residents to avoid the Borefields area near Mount Tully due to safety concerns over a large number of fallen trees and debris.

Originally published as 'I've lost a lot': Cooktown bushfire damage bill climbs


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