17 October 2023

Ten years ago today the Winmalee and Mount Victoria bushfires destroyed 200 homes in the Blue Mountains. In smoky late afternoon light some of us walked into our streets to find the smouldering rubble of everything that we owned. Those of us who managed to rebuild to new bushfire standards still miss our neighbours who, for very many reasons, didn't return, and we still notice smoke and hot winds. We take solace though that no one died in our fires, unlike the tragedies that have occurred in so many others, including near Kempsey overnight. A decade on we celebrate our new neighbours and our once new homes that now feel very lived in, and we remark on how quickly you collect clutter after such a brutal decluttering. Whether you lost a home or not on 17 of October 2013, it was a marker for our whole community, and I know many of us are thinking of people from that time.

As a small group of residents, first respondents and recovery volunteers discussed how to mark this anniversary, one idea was to provide a commemorative book where people could write a memory or thanks for the generosity that was shown to them. I want to thank Blue Mountains Mayor Mark Greenhill and the council for making that book a reality. Empty pages will sit in Springwood and Blackheath libraries so anyone in the community can go in and write a few words that will capture those important memories forever. 

Watch Susan Deliver this Speech in Parliament Here.