St Albans' Australian counterpart plagued by bushfires
PUBLISHED: 12:02 09 January 2020 | UPDATED: 12:07 09 January 2020
Australia's bushfire crisis has affected the village of St Albans in New South Wales - which was named after St Albans in Hertfordshire and has the same crest.
St Albans is a small village on the Macdonald River in New South Wales, about 65 miles north west of Sydney, with a population of 305 people.
Previously known as the 'Village of Macdonald', it was renamed St Albans in January 1841 after the city of St Albans in Herts, and sports the same yellow and blue coat of arms.
Recently, record-breaking temperatures and severe drought have led to fires across more than 15.6 million acres of bush, forests and parks, with New South Wales the worst affected state, and 24 people killed across the country.
St Albans is at the centre of the Gospers Mountain fire - described as one of the 'mega-fires' - which covers more than 512,000 hectares in the Wollemi National Park area and is currently being controlled.
Parts of the nearby Macdonald River and Mogo Creek are still ablaze and residents have been advised to monitor conditions and know what they will do if the fire threatens, and to follow advice from local firefighters.
The current nearest bushfire to St Albans is on Three Mile Trail - just a 44-minute drive from the village - and is under control.
St Albans Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade hosted a recovery meeting and barbecue today (Thursday, January 9), with the local Hawkesbury City Council offering advice to residents affected by the bushfires.
There are currently 130 fires burning across New South Wales, with the state declaring a state of emergency and 1,300 houses destroyed. The town of Balmoral, a two-and-a-half hour drive from St Albans, was largely destroyed by fire on December 22.
The village of St Albans, which features an Anglican church named after Saint Alban himself, first became a settlement in 1842.
In the early days of colonial settlement, the Macdonald Valley was an important agricultural area, but with the development of railways and further agricultural progress elsewhere became a remote backwater - often referred to by locals as 'Forgotten Valley'.
For information about how to donate to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, go to https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/volunteer/support-your-local-brigade.