Remembering the 2009 Victorian Bushfires

Published on 31 January 2019

February 2019 marks the 10 Year Anniversary of Black Saturday and the 2009 Victorian Bushfires which was one of the most significant disasters Victoria has experienced.

Tragically, 173 people lost their lives in the fires, and the heatwave saw deaths increase by 374 people. Many more were injured, lost their homes or their livelihoods.

Communities in Labertouche, Jindivick and Drouin West were heavily impacted by these fires. Fortunately, no lives were lost in these areas, but the fires devastated these communities with many residents losing their livelihoods and properties.

Two of these communities are gathering together to remember the significant local impact during and immediately after the event and acknowledge any impacts on people and land that are still present.

All community members are invited to attend a local civic reception to commemorate the impacts of these devastating fires 10 years on. The civic reception will be held from 1.00pm on Friday 15 February at the West Gippsland Arts Centre. Light refreshments may be provided.

Her Excellency the Honourable Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria, Patron of the 10-year Anniversary of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires, and Mr Anthony Howard QC will attend.

The event will also feature guest speaker Ruth McGowan, who was Mayor amid the Black Saturday bushfires which affected her home town of Jindivick.

The state anniversary event, to be held in February 2019 in central Melbourne, will complement community commemorations being held throughout January and February. This event will provide an opportunity for Victorians to gather in a central location to remember and reflect on the anniversary.

The Red Cross and the Victorian Council of Churches Emergency Ministry volunteers will be available to provide quality psycho-social support for anyone who needs it at community events during February 2019.

To find out more please visit www.vic.gov.au/2009-bushfires

Quotes attributable to Mayor Cr Mikaela Power

“We invite everyone in Baw Baw Shire to acknowledge the anniversary in the way which best suits them. Whether its talking to friends and family, wearing a yellow ribbon, attending our civic reception commemorative event or going into Melbourne for state-wide memorials. There are many ways which people can remember the anniversary of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires. Some people may not want to mark the day at all, and that is fine too.”

“The events of 2009 will never be forgotten. A decade on, people across our community have come a long way. Localities which were decimated are being rebuilt, land is recovering, and new communities and friendships have formed.”

Quotes attributable to West Ward Cr Tricia Jones

“The anniversary is a time to reflect and remember those who lost their homes, livelihoods and lives. It’s a time to learn about how the fires changed the lives of so many, and how communities have rebuilt. Many Victorians, including communities in our own Shire, still experience the effects of the bushfires and the severe heatwaves that occurred in early 2009 and our thoughts are with them all.”

Quotes attributable to West Ward Cr Keith Cook

“We’re a big-hearted community in Baw Baw Shire. We extend a warm invitation to anyone who would like to join in the local commemorative event. Everyone is welcome to come together in support of one another to reflect on what was a tragic time in our state’s history.”

Quotes attributable to West Ward Cr Jessica O’Donnell

“Almost 10 years ago, Victorians lived through the worst heatwave and bushfires in our nation’s history. Everyone’s journey through recovery is different, and for many, recovery remains an ongoing challenge.”

“There are many places you can go to for help. We all experience different challenges at various times and support is available. You can speak with your family and friends, your GP, a mental health professional or call Lifeline on 13 11 14.”

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