Survival skills: The Australians turning to bushcraft in wake of Covid-19 pandemic

Particpants take part in a bushcraft survival course near Sydney, Australia.
Particpants take part in a bushcraft survival course near Sydney, Australia. © Reuters / France 24

From building fires to foraging for food, some in Australia have taken to brushing up on essential survival skills in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, a way to prepare for future global disasters while reconnecting with nature.

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Gordon Deman, a senior instructor for Bushcraft Survival Australia, says interest in survival courses has peaked following the pandemic.

“If it’s one thing this pandemic has highlighted, is our disconnection to the environment across the world,” he told Reuters. “Our over-dependence on the way we use modern technology and the lack of community and people looking after people and, our main focus has been on economy, rather than community.”

On a three-day intermediate course led by Deman near Ku-ring-gai National Park, Ingleside, north of Sydney, participants learn not only how to provide heat and shelter, but also solar and celestial navigation, signalling for help, and knot tying.

“That’s why I think this course is pretty popular now with people. So just to connect with nature and learn different skills and be a bit more prepared, I think,” said participant Victor Mossely.

“I was a bit of a prepper anyway, in the first place, so, collecting things. So when this happened (pandemic), I said ‘Oh, finally.’ Oh, not finally something’s happened, but you know, you talk to people at work and they go, ‘oh yeah, yeah, you know, you prepping this, prepping this, nothing’s going to happen,’ and then so, yeah, a little bit happened, so yeah.”

Australia has been less heavily impacted by the coronavirus than many other countries with 7,240 recorded cases and 102 deaths but like most other nations introduced strict lockdown measures and saw panic-buying of essentials, such as toilet paper, at the start of the pandemic.

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