Bath remembers Delburn fires

In her parliamentary commemoration speech on the 10th anniversary of the Delburn fires, The
Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath acknowledged the unprecedented horror,
courage, endurance, hope and healing of the tragic fires.

Ms Bath, a teacher at Mirboo North Secondary College, at the time, recalled the incredible
community spirit and unity that melded residents into action.

“It was Friday, 6 February and in the auditorium we looked east to Darlimurla and Boolarra. We saw
big plumes of billowing smoke and experienced leaf litter and embers falling on the school.”
The Delburn fires destroyed 44 homes with many other properties suffering significant
infrastructure loss.

“Prior to this horrendous event, students were preparing for the school year ahead, post fire; some
were attending classes in borrowed uniforms.

“The 10 year anniversary has been an opportunity to reflect on what everyone experienced. Some of
these memories were sad and difficult, but in amongst them were memories of hope, strength and
determination,” said Ms Bath.

“However, through all the adversity there was a feeling of overwhelming community spirit. People
came together and collectively wrapped their arms around each other; family, friends, neighbours
and strangers, to acknowledge the loss and commence the healing process.

Ms Bath recently met with Mirboo North’s Mr David Tree who with other CFA volunteers worked
relentlessly to protect the community from the threatening inferno. Together they spoke of the
collective community response and impact 10 years on.

“Everyone from CFA, SES, Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria, local charities and volunteers did
such an amazing job to protect life and property”, said Ms Bath.

“While people were forced to flee for their safety, our first responders bravely ran towards the
emergency. They demonstrated a level of bravery and compassion that is simply beyond words.
Ms Bath says the Delburn fire anniversary is well summed up by the words of David Tree whom she
quoted in parliamentary speech.

“This event changed all our lives in one way or another. Nevertheless, it is how we respond as a
caring community that makes all the difference. We must continue to love, care and support each
other. Healing is an ongoing process. We must be mindful of the needs of others and open to
providing selfless service, and do so without being asked, to protect that which
matters to us most, be it human or otherwise.”