Australian firsts and animal kindness: All the good news you've missed over the festive season.

As we barrel towards 2020, every news site in our country is plastered with saddening and terrifying news.

The bushfires, drownings, murder and missing children are just some of upsetting stories making headlines in Australia today.

One of the best stories we’ve heard this week is the announcement of compensation for firefighters. Post continues after video.

Video via Seven

Those stories are important to tell, of course. But it’s easy to forget about the good in the world when the images of pain and suffering are so front-and-centre.

So as you enjoy some restful time off (if you’re lucky) and sip on your festive cocktails and leftover ham (if you’ve still got some left), we want to bring your attention to some of the good news that’s happened this holiday period.

1. Our volunteers are getting the compensation they deserve.

Over the weekend the federal government announced they would be giving $50 million in compensation to volunteer firefighters. Prime Minister Scott Morrison says that’s only an estimation however, and the government will fork out more if necessary.

Eligible volunteers will receive $300 a day and up to $6000 in total if called out for more than 10 days this fire season. At the moment New South Wales firies are able to apply for the compensation, with other states and territories able to request the same deal.

The payments will be backdated to July 1 to compensate for all of the hard work firefighters have already done.

bushfire safety tips
Our volunteer firefighters will be compensated for the amount of time they've spent on the frontline. Image: Getty.

2. A koala's interaction with some kind passing cyclists.

There's a lot of horror coming out of Australia's current bushfire crisis with loss of lives, homes and livelihoods.

But on Sunday a beautiful interaction between a bunch of cyclists and a koala put a bit of hope back into the world. In fact, the stories of Australians putting their own safety on the line to save our native wildlife (like the woman who saved one with the shirt off her back) have been extraordinarily heartwarming to watch in a time of such tragedy.

Cyclist Anna Heusler was with a group of friends riding in the Adelaide Hills when they came across a koala in the middle of the road yesterday.

"This koala walked right up to me as I was descending and climbed up onto my bike while I gave him water," she wrote on Instagram.

"There were about a dozen cyclists around me watching this (all men) and several commented that it was genuinely the best thing they've witnessed. What a truly wonderful experience."


Speaking of koalas, the New South Wales koala hospital's GoFundMe campaign raised more than $1 million in the wake of bushfire devastation, far eclipsing the goal of $25,000.

The size of the donations has allowed the hospital to extend their project beyond setting up automatic drinking stations in areas affected by bushfires. It's also going to be enough cash to set up a wild koala breeding program.

3. A first in the Sydney to Hobart.

For the first time in its 75 year history, this year's Sydney to Hobart race featured an all-indigenous crew.

157 boats left Sydney Harbour on Boxing Day with Tasmania in their sights, but arguably none were prouder than Tribal Warrior.

The idea of an all-Indigenous crew came from skipper Wayne Jones, who has been competing alongside Indigenous sailors since the 1960s.

"You've got AFL, Cathy Freeman sprinting, rugby league players — they're all there, but who's our [Indigenous] top sailor?" Jones told the ABC.

Tribal Warrior on Sydney Harbour. Image: Brett Hemmings/Getty Images.

His goal is to have indigenous people recognised for their talent and contribution in what's considered a relatively exclusive elitist sport and to show young ones that "anything is possible."

The team was brought to tears on the day after enjoying the praise of well-wishers and feeling how proud their communities were of them.

Ichi Ban has officially taken out the race (for a second time) as confirmed this morning.

4. Making lemonade out of lemons in Lorne.

9,000 festival goers have been left gutted by the cancellation of the Victorian Falls Festival due to bushfire threat, however amid the disappointment something heartwarming has emerged.


All those who bought tickets to the Lorne event will receive a full refund, including booking and payment-processing fees but many of the affected artists have arranged last minute gigs in Melbourne to alleviate fan sadness, with most using the pop-ups to raise money for the fires.

A devastating situation, made slightly more hopeful by some last minute fundraising.

"LORNE falls ticket holders get PRIORITY access to the box office tonight, but anyone can come. all profits are going to fire relief," wrote American singer Halsey on Instagram.

G Flip did the same, putting $25 on the door to go directly to the Country Fire Authority in Victoria.


5. A little boy's mission to save the lizards that'll melt your soul.

Seven-year-old Jake Croker was on a mission to save 'sleepy lizards' and has successfully had his self-designed warning signs erected in South Australia.

He'd been trying for more than a year to get the signs implemented around the Yorke Peninsula to let drivers know to look out for shingleback lizards in the area.

The ABC reports Jake is hopeful national parks across Australia will also adopt the signs to protect their local lizard species, and a spokesperson for the Department for Planning, Transport and Infrastructure says there's definitely potential for that.


Sleepy lizards
Jake's mission to save sleepy lizards is giving us life. Image: ABC.

6. A new record for women in space.

NASA astronaut Christina Koch has become the woman who has spent the longest time in outer space.


She's been up there for 289 days.

Koch, 40, arrived at the International Space Station in March last year and is thrilled to be the new record holder as of this week.

"It's a wonderful thing for science. We see another aspect of how the human body is affected by the microgravity for the long term, and it's really important for our future spaceflight plan going forward to the moon and to Mars," she said in an interview with CNN.

Christina Koch
NASA Astronaut Christina Koch has broken the female record for longest time in space. Image: Mikhail JaparidzeTASS via Getty Images.

6. The fast-acting hero McDonald's employees.

When a distressed woman walked into a McDonald's restaurant in California last week begging for help, the employees behind the counter moved quickly.

She'd used the restroom and carefully got their attention while pretending to order something - asking them to call 911. She was travelling with a man who had a history of abusing her and he ordered her away from the counter and back into the car. He wanted her to do a drive through order instead.

In the drive-through, she continued to send messages to staff mouthing "help me" through the window.

While they were still waiting for their food, police arrived and arrested the man.

The quick actions of those McDonald's staff were that woman's saviour that day. Their quick thinking actions that day should be applauded.

Have you seen any good news worth shouting about? Let us know in the comments below.

Feature Image: Instagram/Getty.