Whittlesea prepares to remember

Kinglake National Park after Black Saturday bushfires.

The Whittlesea community is preparing for a time of remembrance and reflection as the 10th anniversary of the 2009 bushfires draws closer.

There are several community events planned around the township of Whittlesea including a community remembrance service at the Whittlesea Community Garden in Laurel Street on the anniversary – Thursday, February 7 at 6.45pm.

There will also be a community gathering at Toorourrong Reservoir Park on Saturday, February 9 at 9am.

Art created by the community in response to the 2009 bushfires will be exhibited at the City of Whittlesea’s Great Hall at the council offices in South Morang during February.

Community spokespeople Larry Challis and Ivan Peterson said while 10 years had passed, many people were still recovering both physically and emotionally.

“Everyone is on their own path to recovery and there are many people in our community still deeply affected,” Mr Peterson said.

“The shared suffering has brought our community together and this year we will again stop and reflect and remember.”

Mr Challis said the bushfire response, recovery and rebuilding of our community was a joint effort between Council and the community.

“So many people stood up to help a neighbour,” he said.

Mayor Lawrie Cox said Council and the community had learned much in the time since the fires.

“These fires really changed the way we respond to and prepare for emergencies,” he said.

“We were also pleased that our efforts to help the affected communities resulted in empowering and resourcing them to be in control of their own futures.

“It’s not about Council stepping in, it’s about supporting the community and allowing the community to grow and this has been one positive outcome from an otherwise terrible time in our history,” Cr Cox added.