Sunday, February 07, 2010

one year on

The 7th February, 2010, one year on from Black Saturday, is a day of contemplation and a day of remembrance. Thoughts turn to those terrible events one year ago, the tragic loss of life, the devastating loss of people’s homes and the shocking loss of wildlife and bushland.

I took these aerial photos on a tour of the Ryrie Ward. In Yarra Ranges 12 people lost their lives on Black Saturday.

In Yarra Ranges the fires continued to burn for weeks after Black Saturday. Our community either traumatised by the fire that had been or in fear of the fire that threatened.

The tireless efforts of the CFA volunteers were heroic, there were amazing gestures of generosity from near and far as people responded to the tragedy that was unfolding before us.

One year on, we see recovery, rebuilding and regeneration. People starting the journey to get their lives back on track, new houses being built and the bush regenerating.

I took these photos out the back of Steels Creek in October, 2009. I had been told about the grass trees putting on a spectacular display and went to see for myself.

Our natural environment provides a backdrop message of hope to our fire affected communities. Gum trees covered in epicormic growth, species of plants only ever seen after bushfire, mass displays of spring flowers, blackened tree ferns with their lime green fronds, all in response to fire.

It will take a long time to recover from such a calamitous natural disaster, Black Saturday has affected many people in many ways. With understanding and care people will rebuild their lives, overcome the trauma and learn to live with the memories.

At this one year mark, my thanks again to all the volunteers who went well beyond the call of duty in responding to Black Saturday and still do to this day.

I also extend my heartfelt and sincere well wishes to all those people who lost loved ones in the fires, this day will be difficult for you but know that our thoughts are with you.

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