Aussies all across the country have been responding in incredible ways to the appeals for donations to help the victims of the past week's Victorian Bushfires.  Today our college did its share using a common Aussie way of raising money at schools... a "Free Dress Day".  In exchange for not having to wear the normal school uniforms, kids bring a "gold coin" donation for whatever the announced cause that's being supported.  In Australia we have $1 and $2 gold coins.  Due to the seriousness of the current need, our college asked kids to consider bringing a "note" instead of a gold coin today.  The lowest denomination currency here is the $5 note.  At the end of the day today it was announced that the kids (and their families) had brought in just over $10,000.  An amazing, spontaneous response!

All week there have been various fundraising efforts going on around the country.  Last night I watched a telethon on national television during which Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban gave a $500,000 donation.  Tonight I'm watching Aussie Rules Football (pre-season game) and cricket, during which both are making a big effort to encourage donations with outstanding results.  You can see the Red Cross web site here for the latest on their efforts, and the Melbourne newspaper The Age for the latest news - including the search for the arsonists who started some of the fires.