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03-May-2014
03-May-2014

Photographs supplied by Chris McLaughlin

The Firefighter's Tribute is dedicated to the courage and dedication of the Stanley fire fighters and emergency services worker and a place for the community to reflect on the experiences of Black Saturday 2009.  

The design of this unique contemplative space relates to the four elements of fire, water, earth and air. Central to the design is a fire pit for communal gatherings, to remind the community that fire is also a means of comfort, warmth, and fellowship. The site also includes a striking sculpture crafted from steel and local quartz rock.

The sculpture was funded by the Federal and Victorian Governments as part of a project to honour those who died in the Black Saturday fires and pay tribute to the people involved in the recovery effort.

On February 7, 2009, a day that was dubbed “Black Saturday” in Australia, deadly bushfires swept through the southern state of Victoria, leaving 173 people dead and 500 injured. In addition, more than 2,000 homes were destroyed, and experts estimated that the number of affected wildlife (killed or injured) was well into the millions.

In Beechworth, a fire burnt over 30,000 hectares and threatened the towns of Yackadandah, Stanley, Bruarong, Dederang, Kancoona, Kancoona South, Coralbank, Glen Creek, and Running Creek.

Just out of Stanley on the Myrtleford Road, a sculpture has been built to pay tribute to the district's Country Fire Authority volunteers who kept the town safe during the devastating 2009 bushfires. The sculpture was designed and crafted by a group of local artists including Stanley's Janet Sutherland, and will be officially opened tomorrow.

"I think people really felt very grateful for the work the firefighters did. I know I certainly did, and that was one of the reasons I was happy to be involved in this project, to be able to have created something that says thank you," she told ABC Goulburn Murray's Bronwen O'Shea.

The towering sculpture overlooks a dam, built as a water source for firefighting. The glimmer of the light on the water plays across the stainless steel leaf that sits atop the sculpture, a symbol of the ember attacks that residents fought when the fires closed in. Supporting the leaf is a rusted steel tower chosen to reflect the local area's mining links. Rusted machinery parts still found in the paddocks and bush around Stanley.

"Also at the base of the sculpture is quartz from the old mullock heaps in this gully," Janet said. Images of local firefighters have also been stencilled into the base. The overall design includes a fire pit which Janet hopes will become a gathering place and a place to reflect.

"We need fire to live, we need fire to heat, we need it to cook. It's also a way of bringing communities together to sit and talk around a fire. But fire can become a monster as we experienced. And we really wanted to have a space where people can come back and be reflective about that."

The sculpture was funded by the Federal and Victorian Governments as part of a project to honour those who died in the Black Saturday fires and pay tribute to the people involved in the recovery effort.
ABC Local, 27 July 2012.

Location

Address:Myrtleford - Stanley Road , next to Stanley Barge Dam , Stanley, 3747
State:VIC
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -36.407637
Long: 146.754514
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Disaster
Sub-Theme:Fire
Actual Event Start Date:07-February-2009
Actual Event End Date:07-February-2009
Designer:Janet Sutherland & Chris Dormer (Concept Artists )
Artist:Ben Gilbert (Sculptor)
Monument Manufacturer:Ian Hills (Landscaping)

Dedication

Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 28th July, 2012
Front Inscription

Firefighters Tribute
   Thank You 
      2009

Source: MA, RDV
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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