Latest News

Back to Latest News back


Catastrophic bushfires impact industry identities

Catastrophic bushfires impact industry identities
January 3, 2020

Amid the numerous tragedies emerging from the current catastrophic bushfires impacting southern NSW and eastern Victoria, high profile in industry identities were impacted earlier this week by blaze that swept through the normally tranquil Lake Conjola on the NSW South Coast.

On New Year’s Eve, Greg Webb longstanding fitness equipment distributor and, more recently, the founder of Webby’s Walks, which celebrates the Australian bush, lost his family home at Lake Conjola to the fires.

The same fire impacted Australian Olympic swim star Emma McKeon who issued an impassioned plea to help those families who have lost their homes to Australia’s worst ever bushfires.

Her Olympian father Ron McKeon and mum Suzie, herself a Commonwealth Games representative, with Olympian brother David McKeon were evacuated from their home on Lake Conjola earlier today.

More than a dozen people have died in the current bushfires while more than 30 are unaccounted for. In addition, hundreds of homes have been destroyed and massive areas of native forest have been burned out.

Ron McKeon sent the following message late today, advising “we were evacuated and escorted out at around 9am this morning and arrived (back to Wollongong) six-and-a-half hours later….all safe!”

Emma Mckeon, Australia’s most successful Olympic swimmer at the Rio Olympics, who along with brother David, is about to start her 2020 Olympic campaign on the Gold Coast, also wrote “it is so hard to truly understand the level of devastation and suffering happening right now across the country from these fires.

“Sadly our home town in Lake Conjola was hit very badly, and we were extremely lucky to be safe where we were. But our heart goes to the victims who lost so much, and to the place many call home.

“I am so grateful to the relentless work and sacrifice from the firies (sic) most of whom are volunteers, saving thousands of people’s homes and lives, and still continuing.

“From being down at Lake Conjola over the last week, you can feel the way the community has come together to support each other.

“Everyone across Australia can come together as a country and support from afar as well by donating to those who have sadly lost their homes and everything in them, and to the fire fighters and volunteers who are risking their lives daily.

“We can often feel helpless from far away but we can do the best we can by donating to those who have lost so much.

“Those still in the areas, please be safe, we are thinking of you, and to those fighting these devastating fires, THANK YOU, SO SO MUCH!”

The following websites are accepting donations to help the victims from the recent bushfires.

Click here to go to the GoFundMe page to help Greg and Alex Webb.

Australian Red Cross Disaster Recovery and Relief -

World Wildlife Fund, raising money to help restore wildlife habitats -

Volunteer fire fighters can be helped at:

Country Fire Authority (Victoria) -

NSW RFS Donations Page -

Images: People at the beach fleeing the Lake Onjola fires (top, courtesy of Emma McKeon)  and Greg Webb in the burnt out ruins of his home on Lake Conjola (below).

Related Articles

2nd January 2020 - Thousands urged to flee NSW South Coast ahead of horror fire weekend

31st December 2019 - Heroic effort by zookeepers saves Mogo Wildlife Park from devastating bushfires

30th December 2019 - Total fire ban and poor air quality sees cancellation of Canberra’s New Year’s Eve fireworks

29th December 2019 - Thousands told to leave fire threat zone in east Gippsland

28th December 2019 - New Year’s Eve fireworks to go ahead in Sydney despite petition calling for cancellation

28th December 2019 - Tourists told to reconsider travel plans to bushfire affected NSW South Coast

21st December 2019 - Smoke from bushfires forces abandonment of Big Bash League match in Canberra

21st December 2019 - $6 million funding for Queensland tourist destinations impacted by bushfires

20th December 2019 - Bushfires see luxury NSW Blue Mountains resort suspend arrivals

19th December 2019 - Sapphire Coast tourism operators urge holidaymakers not to be deterred by bushfires

16th December 2019 - Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens threatened by bushfire

12th December 2019 - Bushfire fears leads to cancellation of NSW Central Coast festival

31st March 2019 - Former fitness executive’s active outdoor lifestyle videos a growing YouTube sensation

11th September 2014 - Emma McKeon joins the Swim Australia team

9th June 2011 - Special needs swimmers hoist launched at McKeon’s Swim Centre

Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all


Founded in 1961, Myrtha Pools® quickly became Italy’s première swimming pool company, and has since grown into one of the world's leading swimming pool construction…

read more

Aquatics / Design / Play / Waterparks / Wellness


Jonas Leisure

JonasLeisure offers a complete range of leading leisure and recreation software brands – envibe, Centaman, Gladstone Health & Leisure, The Retention People, Nutrition Complete and…

read more

Aquatics / Billing / Fitness / Recreation / Sport



A leading designer and manufacturer of innovative waterslides and attractions, Australian Waterslides and Leisure (AWL) is also able to advise clients in the areas of concept and design, feasibility…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Play / Waterparks



Geoff Ninnes Fong & Partners (GNFP) is a structural, aquatic and civil engineering consultancy with broad experience in the design of new municipal and institutional swimming pools, hydrotherapy…

read more

Aquatics / Consultants / Design / Venues


Polin Waterparks

Polin was founded in Istanbul in 1976, and has since grown into a leading company in the waterparks industry. Today Polin is one of the world leaders in the design, production, and installation of…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Play / Waterparks


@leisure Planners

@leisure is a team of experienced leisure, aquatic and sports facility managers and planners, with market modelling, sports management, recreation planning, business and GIS qualifications. We have…

read more



XBODY Australia Pty Ltd

PROVEN BUSINESS CONCEPTS WITH XBODY XBody’s goal is to see you and your EMS business succeed. That is why we don’t just sell equipment, we provide know-how, expert knowledge,…

read more

Fitness / Technology / Wellness



Swimplex Aquatics are a world-class company dedicated to the commercial pool, waterslide industry. We are Australian market leaders servicing all states Australia wide. Swimplex provide a full…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Design / Play / Waterparks


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business