Wednesday, 3 February, 2021

Fires ravage Perth suburbs; Snow storm brings out pandas; Space flight up for grabs; and the mum who beat the brown snake.



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Already reeling from the snap five day COVID lockdown, residents of Perth’s north-eastern suburbs were on high alert yesterday and throughout last night as bushfires burned in the hills outside the city, destroying at least 56 homes and forcing the evacuation of hundreds of people.

The blaze – which began on Monday afternoon – grew in size and intensity throughout the day yesterday, devouring some 7000 hectares – which is about the same size of 10,000 football fields. 

And while the loss of homes was last night reported as 56 – authorities were expecting that number to rise this morning as fire crews access burnt out areas and properly take account of the damage that’s been caused.

The fire emergency comes as Australia’s western-most capital endures its third day of a five day coronavirus lockdown. In a glimmer of good news, there were no new cases of COVID recorded in WA yesterday.




Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops. And today we’ve landed in the United States – where a massive snow storm has brought New York City to a standstill and caused havoc in surrounding counties.

More than 1600 flights had to be cancelled into and out of the region as New York’s mayor urged residents to stay inside and only venture out if absolutely necessary. 

The weather bureau reported that 48cms of snow had fallen in some parts of New York and adjoining states.

Oh – and schools in the area were closed down for the day yesterday too. Proving that every cloud – even if it’s a snow cloud – has a silver lining.

Not that school kids were the only ones celebrating the arrival the snow dump. A pair of pandas in a zoo in Washington were filmed frolicking in the snow: their antics the very definition of joy. There’s a link in today’s episode notes to the video – it’s guaranteed to put a smile on your dial.




Hands up who wants to go into space? Hands up who might be free in October to hop aboard a SpaceX rocketship and blast off beyond the stratosphere and circle the globe? Then listen up: because an Amercian billionaire has just bought an entire SpaceX flight and has launched a competition in which the winning prize is a chance to join the mission.

Jared Isaacmen – who made his fortune in IT – is looking for three ‘everyday’ people to join him on the SpaceX rocketship he has booked for an end of year joy flight. 

All you need to do to go into the draw is make a donation to his favourite charity – a children’s hospital in the US. 

It’s all part of a bold plan to make space travel possible for anyone – not just fully trained astronauts – and part of a wider push to establish a space tourism industry. 

Or, as Jared puts it: “I truly want us to live in a world 50 or 100 years from now where people are jumping in their rockets like the Jetsons and there are families bouncing around on the moon with their kid in a spacesuit,”

And if you don’t know what he means by The Jetsons – check out the link in today’s episodes – or ask someone you know that’s over 40 and used to watch a lot of Saturday morning cartoons. 




And today, we turn our attention to South Australia and offer up a hearty Squiz Kids salute to 16 year old Levi Chandler whose quick thinking saved his mate Isaiah Wilksch’s life after he was bitten by a brown snake.

The pair were playing golf at the local club on the Eyre Peninsula when Isaac accidentally stood on the snake – widely recognised as the most venomous in Australia. And that’s saying something given we have 21 of the world’s 25 deadliest snakes. 

Isaac knew to lie still while Levi applied a pressure bandage before calling for help.

And how did Isaac happen to have a pressure bandage in his golf bag? Because that very morning his mum had put it there and explained to him how to use it. 

Isaac has made a full recovery and is ready to hit the golf course again.

And the moral of this story: always listen to your mum. And maybe try not to step on snakes. 

There’s a link in today’s episode notes to a free phone app called: Australian Stings And Bites – offering advice on what to do if you’re bitten by a snake, or a spider – or any one of the other nasties we seem to specialise in here in Oz. 




This is the part of the podcast where you get to test how well you’ve been listening …

  1. Which city in Australia was yesterday devastated by bushfire?
  2. What sort of animal was filmed playing in the snow at a Washington zoo?
  3. What was 16yo Isaiah Wilksch bitten by as he played golf earlier this week?




It’s February 3  … the start of the Wheelchair Tennis Open in Victoria – one of the tournaments held in the lead-up to the Australian Open. It’s also the first day back at school for lots of kids in Western NSW … the rest of you who have been back since last week – let’s give them a big clap .. welcome to the party Western NSW, what a shame you couldn’t join us earlier!

It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today … Sophie from Aberfoyle Park, Annabel from Denistone East, Benjamin from Whittlesea, Zac from Forster and Kirra from Albany Hills. 

Today’s classroom shoutouts: Class 5/6 Leopards at Forster Public School, class 5 Magenta at Birrong Public School, class 3L at West Wallsend Public School, class 6/O from Bass Valley Primary School, and Year 3 from St John’s at Narraweena with their teachers Miss Milligan and Ms Rath. 


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Perth
  2. Panda
  3. Brown Snake