In Response to: Black Summer Bushfires
Location:  Bega Valley, New South Wales
Status: Deploying

15 February – 20 April 2023

Existing DRA volunteers are invited to submit an EOI to deploy via the below link.
Not yet a volunteer with DRA and keen to help? Then join us now via the link below.

Bega Valley Bushire Recovery Operation

Operation Salway will launch on 15 February when DRA volunteers return to the Bega Valley to help the communities of Yowrie and Windella, Verona, Upper Brogo, Quaama, and Cobargo continue their recovery from the Black Summer bushfires.

In late 2019, six lives were lost and more than 300 homes were destroyed when the Baja Forest Road Fire raced through the town of Cobargo and the surrounding areas. Operation Salway builds on DRA’s initial Black Summer Bushfire operations, Operation Ryan in 2020, and Operation Corkhill in 2021. Unfortunately, significant COVID-19 restrictions forced DRA to cease its operation and return at a later date.

With much work still to complete and many more to assist, our volunteers, including those from the Australian National University and UNSW, will finally return in 2022 and continue relief efforts.  Operation Salway received funding from the Australian Government. It will run for a minimum of 10 weeks and will be complete before June 2023.

Area of Operations

The initial areas of operation are assiting the communities of Yowrie and Windella, Verona, Upper Brogo, Quaama, and Cobargo continue their recovery from the Black Summer bushfires.

Bushfire Recovery Taskings

DRA provides relief and recovery to communities impacted by disasters. As part of our Bega Valley Shire Bushfire Recovery Grant actvities we will offer the following capabilities:

• Damage and Impact Assessments
• Route Clearance and Property Access
• Debris Removal
• Chainsaw Work
• Expedient Home Repair

Note: DRA does not provide licensed/trade-certified services as part of our service offerings.




Operation Salway.. 1
Francis ‘Frank’ Robert Salway served in both France and Belgium during WWI. His service in France earned him three decorations from both the French and Belgium governments.

Awarded the Belgium Gold Cross, Silver and Bronze Palms and the French Somme Medal, Frank also received a Diploma of Honour, Life Membership of the Belgian War Veterans Association, and the British General Service and Victory Medals.

His service continued in WWII for which he received the Defence Medal and the Australian Service Medals. Frank’s outstanding commitment to his community continued long after the war. A member of the RSL for more than half a century, Frank was Cobargo Sub-Branch President for more 45 years and received Life RSL membership in 1952.

The Frank Salway Shield, which was donated by Frank, is still presented each year to the RSL sub-branch that raises the most money for charity.

Captain of the Cobargo Bush Fire Brigade for more 55 years, Frank remained Chairman of the Brigade. He served nine years on the local Council and four terms as Deputy President and was instrumental in sealing Cobargo-Bermagui Road. His efforts to make the road a functional thoroughfare, ensured locals can travel to Bermagui in comfort.

A former Rugby Union player, Frank was also in the Lions Club for three decades, Scout Master of the local Scout troop and warden of the local Church of England parish for many years.

In 1976, NSW Governor General Sir Arthur Cutler VC, AK, KCMG, KCVO, CBE made Frank at 83-years -old, a Member of the British Empire for his services to the community. Sadly, in 2019, Frank’s nephew Robert Salway (63) and Robert’s son Patrick Salway (29) both died while trying to save their Cobargo home in the Badja Forest fire during the Black Summer Bushfires.