'I'll love you forever': Wife of farmer, 29, killed in bushfire alongside his dad pays emotional tribute

Tom Flanagan
News Reporter

The wife of a farmer who was found dead alongside his father after they stayed to defend their home against raging bushfires overnight has paid an emotional tribute to her husband.

Young father Patrick Salway, 29, was found dead by his mother at their family home on the outskirts of Cobargo, which was decimated by the Badja Forest Road fire on Tuesday.

She found her son alongside the body of her husband, 63-year-old Robert Salway.

She had left the property on Monday evening before returning on Tuesday, NSW Police confirmed.

Patrick pictured with his son and wife Renee. Source: Facebook

Patrick and Robert Salway had refused to leave their property and decided to fight the encroaching fires moving into Monday night.

Patrick Salway’s wife Renee took to Facebook late on Tuesday to pay tribute to her husband.

“I love you now, I love you still, I always have and I always will,” she wrote.

“I will see you again Patrick, my best friend.”

She said she and their son Harley were “broken” and thanked the public for their concern as she shared two pictures of her husband, one with their son.

Friends and locals began to react to the devastating news online, many offering condolences to the men’s family.

“Very sad day. Taken way too young,” one person said.

Renee shared this photo of Patrick with their son Harley in the wake of his death. Source: Facebook

“Sending our love to you and your family Renee. I’m so sorry,” another said.

Cobargo resident David Allen told The Daily Telegraph their deaths were a “bloody tragedy”.

“They were really good guys, just some salt of the earth blokes,” he said.

Mr Allen, who has known the family most of his life, said Patrick was an “affable” guy who loved horse riding and footy.

His father Robert was a “really community-minded bloke”, according to Mr Allen.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Patrick’s wife Renee is expecting the couple’s second child.

The two men both worked in the dairy industry and were well respected among other farmers.

Renee and Patrick pictured on their wedding day. Source: Facebook

Cobargo obliterated by bushfire

Their deaths take this season's toll to 11, coming hours after a volunteer firefighter died in a truck crash involving a "fire tornado" on the Victoria-NSW border.

Another man, aged 72, in Belowra is feared dead, but the NSW Rural Fire Service on Tuesday evening said it was having a "great deal of difficulty" getting into the remote location 50km north of Cobargo.

NSW Police deputy commissioner Gary Worboys said officers were able to enter Cobargo on Tuesday afternoon to confirm Patrick and Robert’s deaths.

"That's of course a tragedy," Mr Worboys told reporters.

Hundreds of fires are burning across the country with about 100 in NSW  - 60 uncontained.

NSW fire commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons has warned property damage will be heavy with dozens of buildings being damaged or destroyed.

"We need to brace our ourselves for a considerable number of properties, a considerable number of homes that are likely to have been damaged or destroyed," he said.

"These fires have spread faster and further than the modelling and the fire weather predictions suggested they would. 

"It's been a truly awful day."

Residents earlier evacuated to the beach in the town of Batemans Bay, which is surrounded by the Currowan fire to the north and the 31,000-hectare Clyde Mountain fire to the south and east.

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