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Waltzing Australia


Thursday, February 7, 2013

54. Black Saturday - the Fourth Anniversary

Hell Unleashed Its' Fury

Hell hath no fury like a bushfire raging across hectares of grassland, farms and countryside, moving with the speed of lightning so fast that people who tried to outrun the fires were burnt in their cars. Cars littered the countryside bodies incinerated

Today is the fourth anniversary of the Black Saturday bushfires. On Saturday 7th February, 2009, my state, the state of Victoria burned. There had been bushfires burning but this day was the worst in Australian history with the largest loss of life - 173 people lost their life and 414 were injured due to the fires.

Above: Black Saturday Bushfires

I remember that day clearly - early in the morning, the sun was a bright orange ball and we knew that that day would be terrible. the temperatures in Melbourne were 46.4ºC (115.52ºF) and in other areas it was 49ºC - (120.2ºF). The hot northerlies raged through my state with speeds of 80-100km. - the wind was ferocious, when I stood on my verandah it was 48º - in the shade and the wind was so hot it burnt our legs. You could hear it howling and there was a noise in the distance - a thunderous, rumbling noise - it sounded like huge jets, only there were no jets. I have never heard winds like that before, and I hoped to God I never hear them again. It was a most awful, awful sound. And it went on for hours.

Black Saturday was Victoria's darkest nightmare and the worst in our history.

Above: Marysville

Marysville - beautiful Marysville. It was Victoria's "Camelot" A very pretty little town with English Oaks lining the streets, with quaint, old-fashioned shops and homes, and an aura of yesteryear, a truly beautiful and serene hamlet set in magnificent forest. The Murrindindi/Marysville fire took 40 lives ad destroyed 536 homes.

Above: Marysville - In remembrance

There were 12 bushfires burning out of control across Victoria and 26 blazes in total.

In total, more than 700 homes had been confirmed destroyed.

Beechworth, Brittania Creek, Bunyip Park, Bendigo, Kilmore, Walhalla, Gippsland, Horsham

The blazes grew to more than 210,000 hectares and were burning towards Taggerty, Crystal Creek, Connollys Creek, Glenburn, and Rubicon.

They had already burnt through Kinglake, Marysville, Buxton and Narbethong.

Above: Kinglake NP - Denuded, blackened hills of the Black Saturday bushfires

We sat and listened to the appalling news on that day with a heavy heart knowing that there would be many who would never see another sunrise. Hundreds of homes had been burnt to the ground - razed, the scene looking like something out of a futuristic nightmare. Whole communities were wiped out - not a single stone left standing.

Above: Bushfires - Steel Creek Road, Yarra Glen

1 comment:

Red Nomad OZ said...

I remember sitting at home in the Adelaide Hills that day just waiting for a bushfire to happen, knowing that if one DID start, it'd be virtually impossible to put out.

We didn't get one.

But then we heard about the horrors in Victoria. Like many Australians, we made a donation to help the survivors - the bank teller said she'd never seen anything like the number of people coming in to donate, and the size of the donations.

We all knew there was nothing we could really do to make it better. But giving made us feel like we were trying to share the burden.

It's a tragic reminder of what living in Australia can mean.