The Lost Coast: Untold stories from deep inside the bushfire disaster zone

Quaama's 'Wall of Truth'. Photos: Sylvia Liber.
Quaama's 'Wall of Truth'. Photos: Sylvia Liber.

In the small village of Quaama, roughly 15 kilometres south of Cobargo on the NSW South Coast, there is a wall.

This is no ordinary wall. On that wall is plastered dozens of sticky notes.

The common thread among the post-it notes are people's names and the words "safe" or "ok".

This wall speaks of the crisis the community faced.

This wall was a communication tool for the people of the village to register their status and whereabouts as the firefront tore through the town during the bushfire crisis.

The town's residents used the wall to register their whereabouts or safety during the bushfire crisis.

The town's residents used the wall to register their whereabouts or safety during the bushfire crisis.

They call it Quaama's Wall of Truth.

This was just one of the many images captured by Illawarra Mercury photographer Sylvia Liber and South Coast Register editor John Hanscombe on a journey along the fire trail last week visiting some of the towns and regions now starting their long road to recovery.

They visited some of the smaller towns, like Quaama, which have not yet seen the national spotlight.

The stories from that journey will become part of The Lost Coast, a special series starting this weekend.

As we ventured into these places we encountered despair but also incredible resilience and the most uplifting sense of community.

"I've always thought it important to tell the stories of the smaller communities, those back-road places that suffered greatly and tend to be overlooked," Hanscombe said of the journey.

"Out there, a burnt-out bridge or a destroyed phone tower can make a huge difference for people trying to get back on their feet.

"As we ventured into these places we encountered despair but also incredible resilience and the most uplifting sense of community.

"These people don't want any special treatment but they do want acknowledgement for what they've been through and the struggle that lies ahead.

"These back roads and the people who live by them will forever have a special place in my heart."

As the rest of the country moves on with life, the people of The Lost Coast will be dealing with the impacts of one Australian summer for a long time to come.

These are the stories of the people of The Lost Coast. The people we must never forget.

The special series The Lost Coast starts this weekend and will feature over the coming weeks.