In my family, ornithology meant lyrebirds. Just before I started school we moved to the market town of
Croydon, at that time beyond the fringes of suburban Melbourne. The Dandenong Ranges were in our
backyard, close by — too close when the major fires of the summer of 1962 swept through, and my father
joined the firefighters and came home, late, blackened, with his eyebrows singed. But in late autumn and
winter, the Dandenongs were cool, friendly and at peace.
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