My name is Andrew Redmond. I wrote a comment on Cat's blog a couple of days ago about the work her uncle did. Cat has now given me the opportunity to say something here. My thanks to Cat for allowing me the opportunity.
I am sorry to say I cannot find the relevant paper. I did speak to my stepfather, now in his late nineties. He could remember the work which was done but, although he suggested where to look, the paper is not there. I'll keep looking but there are box-loads of papers out there.
What my father could remember and did tell me was interesting.
"There were no trees close to the house. The closest trees would have been ten metres away."
He can't remember what sort of trees they were, apart from some citrus, but knows they were "not eucalypts because they can explode". The area closer to the house had fire retardant shrubs - mostly aloe, lilypilly, strelitzea and melaleucas. Immediately around the house there was about a three metre width of loose gravel.
There were two sprinkler systems, both run by an off-grid generator. (This was before solar panels.) One sprinkler system "used those big industrial arms to spray the paddocks around the house" and "the other one was on the roof".
Dad said they planted a lot of trees.
"That might sound counter-intuitive but they weren't planting eucalypts. They kept the ground clear and they had some damn good fire breaks in."
He also remembers seeing a lot of wild life on the property and being told that it required a lot of maintenance,
"You don't do that sort of thing overnight" and you have to keep working at it."
It is all common-sense. It is also very hard work. Due to ill-health Cat's uncle left the property when he was in his late seventies. It has changed hands twice since then.
(I went out and had a look at it after my visiting my father. The present owners have let large areas of it become "natural".)