A year has passed: the Victorian bushfire tragedy 2009

All over Victoria, public and private ceremonies were held to commemorate the death of the 173 fire victims killed a year ago in the most devastating bush fires the state had seen. It reminded us, the living, how fragile human life is and how grateful we can be to be still around.

Our house and vineyard was narrowly saved by local firefigthers and fire crews from New South Wales. In our street only property was lost and thanks to the vigilance of our neighbours lives and homes were saved. Casual visitors to the area can hardly detect any sign of the devastation.

Reading through the pages of the Age with descriptions of the anniversary and the memorial services, one is reminded of the horrors people went through and the losses they had to cope with. The individual stories make you sad and it is hard not to cry. The resilience of those bearing hardship is admirable. And the solemn question creeps up, “How would I have dealt with such tragedy?” Would I have been as brave?

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