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Black Saturday

Home > Melbourne > Tours | Unusual Events | Unusual Things to do
by Neil Follett (subscribe)
I'm a retired photographer living in Lilydale mainly researching and writing on Australian aviation history. Now writing more on general subjects.
Published January 31st 2019
Look back and relect upon nature's fury
Australia's worst bushfire disaster was Victoria's Black Saturday, beginning around 7 February and ending on 14 March 2009. The conflagration cost 173 lives and destroyed 2100 homes.

On 21 March 2009, a small group of photography enthusiasts visited five properties in the Narbethong area, all with the approval and blessing of the owners.

Our guide was a local lady who knew all the owners of the properties we visited. We met two of them and despite losing their homes, they were grateful they were not among those who perished.

Life goes on

After seeing the devastation first hand at the first property we visited, hardly a word was spoken for the whole tour. I'm sure I saw a tear or two in some eyes, perhaps even in mine.
We were all in disbelief in what we saw, people's homes destroyed, their lives shattered and for some, their livelihood gone.

Just the framework of a shed and a house chimney left standing.

The intensity of the fire was almost unbelievable. There were many examples of what was a forest of trees, now reduced to blackened sentinels with their green foliage gone.

Blackened trees
What was left of a forrested area.

On two of the properties, all that remained of what was once a home was a pile of ashen ruins with a brick chimney still standing, almost in defiance of what it had endured.

It reminded me of a saying I heard a long time ago. "Isn't it ironic, when a house burns down the only thing left standing is the chimney, where the fire was supposed to be."

Only the chimney remained.

Many, many, burnt out hulks of motor vehicles were evident, sitting on their wheel rims after the tyres disappeared leaving only the rings of wire from their steel belted tyres. The windows of these vehicles just melted in the heat.

Burnt out cars.
Some of the many burnt out remains of cars, left abandoned by their owners.

Burnt out van
Windows melted, tyres gone. Note tyres on the other side of the van still evident.

What surprised us all was some of the plants had re-appeared from the ashes, regenerated, just like a phoenix.

New life

Another splash of colour.

They were a joy to behold, a splash of colour in the blackened landscape, perhaps signalling hope to those affected.

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