by S Lowe 5THE FM newsonline wattlerangenow
Mt Burr was recently the scene of a reunion organised by two friends, . Fiona Vanderhaul and Damien Byass, who caught up on social media after a 25 year absence, both having moved away. Fiona and Damien experienced Ash Wednesday as children and decided to arrange this event to coincide with the Ash Wednesday anniversary.
Fiona said she and her husband had dinner with Damien in Melbourne, and during general conversation about Mr Burr days, decided that it a reunion would be a good idea.
Approximately 30 adults and 15 children attended the event held on the Mt Burr Football Oval. A BBQ lunch was prepared by the Mt Burr Football Club.
Fiona said that as an 8 year old child she remembers Ash Wednesday well but now as an adult she has more appreciation of what it was like for the adults who lost loved ones and those who lost homes and property. Her father was at Frances with the CFS and her mum was pregnant with her sister; they had to collect valuables and be prepared to leave.
The fire came with in one metre of their gas bottles but the CFS saved their home. Their property was the first one on the out skirts of Mt Burr coming from Millicent.
She said at the time of the Ash Wednesday fire, some of the Mt Burr families left their homes with only two minutes to spare, many losing livestock and property. She has always thought of those who lost family and believes that many may still suffer from Post Traumatic Stress.
Three years ago a survey was conducted by Adelaide University and the results showed that many people still suffered from the trauma of the fires. Many still continually check CFS websites on hot days, don’t want to leave property or can’t stay home on fire risk days for fear of another Ash Wednesday, Fiona said.
“The reunion was an amazing day, a time to catch up, to share with people who understand and we realisde there was a bond between all of us on the day, ” Fiona said.
“It was brilliant to talk about the experiences we shared and know that we understood each other.”
Photos by: Graeme Mellor