On the 7th of February 2009 over 400 fires tore through 109 communities in Victoria, destroying more the 2000 homes, 430, 000 hectares of bushland and taking the lives of 173 people. The day has now become widely referred to as Black Saturday. Beth Harding lost her home in the fires and shares her incredible story of recovery, strength and resilience. Now in the aftermath of the fires, the support and generosity of the community has helped Central Gippsland to rebuild itself. ‘Through the Ashes’ is Beth’s personal journey of loss, gain and moving on.
My initial intention was to tell the stories of a community affected by the Gippsland fires through a number of different characters. However I was so inspired by Beth’s optimism and humility that I chose to focus solely on her personal journey. In order to accurately portray the intensity, damage and aftermath of the fire I have used archival photographs and video footage kindly donated by some members of the Traralgon South community.
I was brought up in a bushfire area very close to Beth’s community so this was a story very close to home for me. Through this experience I’ve learnt so much about the strength of the human spirit, even after such a horrific event Beth’s positive outlook on life doesn’t falter. I hope to interview a few other people in Traralgon South and continue with this project outside of university.
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