Strathewen Community Renewal Assoc Inc

Commemoration Gathering 7th February 2013

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Strathewen families, their friends and supporters of the community gathered on Thursday 7th February to mark the fourth anniversary of the Black Saturday bushfires. More than 150 people met at the Peter Avola Memorial Pavilion and spent time socialising and enjoying a light supper.

At 7:30pm everyone moved to the Strathewen Bushfire Memorial for a short ceremony. Malcolm Hackett, Chairperson of the Strathewen Community Renewal Association addressed the group. Malcolm spoke about the progress that has been made over time and the difficulties in defining what has become the new normal for residents and the community.  He stressed the importance of community members continuing to care for each other and to build upon the sense of community that has grown since the fires.

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In a moving tribute to those lost in Strathewen on Black Saturday Paul Evans and his sister Carolyn Westall read each name and asked the community to join in a minute of silence.

The Memorial provided a powerful gathering place. It was hard to believe that at the site exactly one year before, Maddison Bartlett had turned the first soil so the construction could begin. Many people stayed at the Memorial after the formalities to talk and reflect.  There were many comments about the atmosphere at the Memorial, the sound of the birds during the minute of silence and the positive feeling that came from all of us just being together.

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Diana Robertson

Strathewen Community Renewal Association