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Wandong Bushfire Memorial Park Print Page Print this page

30-April-2015
30-April-2015

Photographs supplied by Graeme Saunders

The Wandong Bushfire Memorial Park was opened in 2013 to commemorate those who lost their lives from Wandong and Heathcote Junction in the Black Saturday Fires of 2009.

On the 8th February 2014, on the 5th anniversary of the fire, a plaque was unveiled in the park.The Black Saturday bushfires were a series of bushfires that ignited or were burning across the Australian state of Victoria on and around Saturday, 7 February 2009.

The fires occurred during extreme bushfire-weather conditions and resulted in Australia's highest ever loss of life from a bushfire; 173 people died and 414 were injured as a result of the fires.As many as 400 individual fires were recorded on 7 February. Following the events of 7 February 2009 and its aftermath, that day has become widely referred to as Black Saturday.

Four people died in Wandong, near Kilmore, where about 150 homes were destroyed by a massive blaze before an afternoon wind change diverted the fire towards the north and east.The fire, which had burnt out more than 4000 hectares, also turned its fury on Kinglake, where another six people were confirmed dead, and Flowerdale after the cool change swept through about 5pm. Police confirmed another three fatalities at Strathewen and one in the town Clonbinane. 

Location

Address:Epping-Kilmore Road, Wandong and Heathcote Junction, Wandong, 3758
State:VIC
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.360048
Long: 145.025561
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Park
Monument Theme:Disaster
Sub-Theme:Fire
Monument Designer:Urban Initiatives & Arterial Design, William Thomas Jones & Sons Stonemasons (memorials)
Monument Manufacturer:Meridian Plaques

Dedication

Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 20th April, 2013
Front Inscription
Plaque: 

BLACK SATURDAY 7th February 2009
Hottest day on record with a horrendous northerly
With winds gusting to over 100kph
The landscape was tinder dry due to prolonged drought
One spark ignited to join the northerly wind
Then the absence of birds, eerie
Within minutes flames were on the North West horizon
Wandong-Heathcote Junction is in trouble
Clouds of smoke thickened, visibility zero at times
Flames devoured farms and pastures
Destroying homes, livelihoods and dreams
The wind veered several times catching many by surprise,
some after thinking the fire had passed them by
A force beyond the power of man to contain was upon us
Sirens wailed, helicopters and planes flew while flames raged
Calls for evacuation, but many stayed and reached for their hoses
Some won, some lost
Many were injured, animals and pets too
Lost were 47 homes
And a life was too much to pay
While we sat within the blackened landscape
Our tears struggling to wet the scorched earth
Our towns thanked those who had come to help
We hugged those who shared our grief
But we were fearful for those still at risk
Our community was forever changed but not defeated

This plaque was unveiled by Councillor Sue Marstaeller on Saturday 8th February 2014. Five years on and many in our community have still not come to terms with this terrible day in our town’s history. The town is poorer for losing some residents who cannot return, forever fearful that this may happen again.

Source: MA
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