Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Black Saturday in Victoria

Allow me to digress from the theme of this blog with this particular post.The day of 7th of February, 2009, would have to have been one of the most sad and horrible in my 46 years.
We in Victoria lost approximately 210 of our fellow Aussies in the Black Saturday Bushfires, with many injured .
Many, thousands, lost their homes, businesses and livestock also. And many members of our beloved wildlife 'family' suffered terribly (apparently millions).
Some of our beautiful towns were literally wiped off the 'map'.
We endured the hottest day in our history and with no rain and strong hot winds, the trees, bush and land felt crispy dry. The temperature at my friends' house (15 kilometers from my home) was 50 degrees Celsius. This temperature corresponded (50 degrees) with the reading on my thermometer, which was attached to the wall of my house, under the shade. The winds were gale force; combining with the heat to create a smokey, oven like atmosphere. It felt like hell on earth.
Those who bravely and courageously fought the wild fires are still working today in trying to contain some of these fires that remain a real problem. Many other wonderful volunteers and emergency service personnel are and have worked relentlessly and tirelessly too.
But as with the spirit and grit like those who know and understand adversity, the Aussie spirit of mateship and caring for each other came to the fore. Through all the tragedy, heart ache, loss and despair, many wonderful souls rallied together - friends, neighbours, strangers and even some wildlife - to unselfishly protect, shelter and care for each other.
The Australian (and overseas) community has so far raised over 150 million dollars; gathered mountains of clothing and other essentials for those directly affected by the fires. Our Australian community 'banded together' and gave what they could to help their fellow Aussies in need.
The pictures at the top of this post, are ones I took on that horrid day and one a week after (the fires are still burning today, 28/2/09), when, as I stood near the back door of my house, I looked up only to see a massive wall of a rusty coloured smoke 'wave' rolling towards us. It was trully frightening. We appeared to be surrounded by smoke.
This horrible event has numbed all of us in the Victorian community and the rest of Australia. The support and thoughts offered by all of those overseas have been much appreciated by us all and I'd like to thank all of those kind persons who have offered such.
My heart goes out to all those souls who lost their lives, and their family, friends and neighbours (those known to me personally and those I didn't know) who will be heart broken without them.

2 comments: said...

Hi Louise, I have passed on your message to AsPlanet members and added a link to your blog, in grads to bush photos etc...

I feel as we carry on we our own lives, its all to easy to forget events such as this and how it affects others for a long time, if not a life time changing event. My thoughts have been with you all in Oz lately, I have extended family in Oz and thankfully they are OK..

One of those events that none of us will forget for some time, but unfortunately for some devastating and their are no words that cam express such a disruption to life and I can not help but feel, such events can not help but be a reminder to us all of what is truly important to all of us, life itself in whatever foam.

I have been near a huge bush fire in Tansmania some time ago, so I have some idea the impact and how scary it is. I stood on a beach alone one night and watched in amazement at the landscape changing in front of me and every colour across the bay appeared among the flames... the people in the hut I was staying with was not interested, just another bush fire to them..... I guess it was just like the bomb scares in London to me, just another one, becomes routine after a while. But its when events become so out of mans control, maybe a reminder to take extra care of the world we live in... Alyson Bradley

Louise Page said...

Hi Alyson,
These horrid events really have had an effect on us Aussies. It reminds us of our vulnerabilities and limitations when it comes to challenging 'things' that are more powerful than us.
But, it also summons our strengths and brings out other hidden strengths and bravety in many.
Still today, we are somewhat on edge, as the threat is not over yet. Fires are still burning in Victoria, which our amazing firefighters and other emergency personnel are working tirelessly to manage and/or contain.
There are still many people unaccounted for (from 7/2/09), so for us (Aussies) the tragedy is still unfolding and a quiet unscertainty surrounding the safety of our communities continues.