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From a quiet country town to 'apocalyptic': Incredible photos show how Cobargo has been completely devastated by bushfires - as community mourn a father, 63, and his son, 29, killed defending their home

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 1/01/2020 Eliza Mcphee

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Video provided by Sky News Australia

A once quiet country town is now unrecognisable after it was devastated by a series of violent bushfires. 

Cobargo, on New South Wales' south coast, looked 'apocalyptic' after it was struck by raging fires this week, killing two people and destroying dozens of shops and homes.

The community is mourning the loss of dairy farmer Patrick Salway, 29, and his father Robert, 63, who died after desperately trying to save their home from the blaze. 

Harrowing photos show the town covered in an eerie red haze, with Cobargo's main street being ripped apart.

a city street filled with lots of traffic: Cobargo in New South Wales' South Coast (pictured) has been ravaged by bushfires, turning the once quiet country town into a wasteland

Cobargo in New South Wales' South Coast (pictured) has been ravaged by bushfires, turning the once quiet country town into a wasteland
© Provided by Daily Mail

Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed the deaths of the two men on Tuesday and said a third person was still missing.

It is understood that their bodies were found by Mr Salway's wife Renee who is expecting the couple's second child. 

RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said 'dozens' of homes in the country town were expected to have been destroyed.

Residents were urged to evacuate the town earlier on Tuesday and head towards Bermagui.

Neil Crawley, an RFS firefighter said seven shops along the main street in Cobargo had been destroyed - and some were around 100 years old.  

 'It was like an inferno,' Mr Crawley told The Daily Telegraph

a tree in a forest: The fires tore through the town, leaving dozens of homes and buildings destroyed, with many being 100 years old

The fires tore through the town, leaving dozens of homes and buildings destroyed, with many being 100 years old
© Provided by Daily Mail

'The (fire trucks) just had to do what they could to protect homes and shops.'

Dan Bakker, who lives in Bermagui near Cobargo said he woke up to a black sky.  

'At our town, right near Cobargo. It was black as night, it's almost like the sun was coming up from the west,' he said. 

Brenda Whiffen and her husband who have lived in Cobargo since they were children said they were forced to work through the night to protect their property from the fires. 

'We came outside and you could see the red glow, but you could hear it roaring, that was the scary bit. You could hear it roaring like the ocean,' Mrs Whiffen told the ABC

'And it just came so quick, because of the embers. One would start up here and another one would start somewhere else.' 

The couple managed to save two houses on their property, but other buildings and their farmland didn't survive.

Mrs Whiffen said she is now left with nothing to feed her animals. 

Another Cobargo resident, David Allen, said he'd seen people with burns that had been taken to evacuation centres. 

'To come out of it with no lives lost would be a miracle I think,' he said.

a sunset over a snow covered forest: Dozens of homes were destroyed and some residents were forced to try and save their properties as the flames erupted

Dozens of homes were destroyed and some residents were forced to try and save their properties as the flames erupted
© Provided by Daily Mail

Batemans Bay, a coastal town just an hour north of Cobargo has also been left reeling after fires tore through the area.

Residents were forced to evacuate to the water's edge as the inferno began to close in after four homes were destroyed.

Dennis Price, who owns the Batemans Bay cafe said he felt like he was living in an apocalyptic world.

'It's dark, there's no power. Apocalyptic is the word,' he told The Guardian.

'There's a lot of smoke. Every store that I know of is shut. There's been a couple of explosions, I think it might be gas bottles but I can't be sure about that.

'Everybody basically left town by 10am, most staff were called home.'

Pictures: Australia's bushfire emergency

As the fires continue to burn, towns along the South Coast lost power.

NSW Police confirmed that the areas from South Nowra to Moruya had lost power, affecting more than 46,000 people. 

As of Tuesday evening, there were more than 100 fires burning across the state with 60 uncontained and eight at the emergency alert level.   

The fire threat was affecting much of the south coast, with the persistent 227,000-hectare Currowan blaze in the Shoalhaven, and those in Ulladulla and south of Nowra had been told it was too late to leave. 

Shoalhaven Mayor Amanda Findley said as many as 300 people were sheltering at the Ulladulla Civic Centre.

At Microsoft News Australia we've partnered with the giving platform Benevity to raise funds for Australian Red Cross, St Vincent De Paul Society and The Salvation Army; these organisations are helping communities across the country devastated by bushfires. You can help these organisations by donating here and for the latest news and RFS links visit Bushfire emergency.

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