The trauma of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires touched families and communities in Victoria, across Australia and throughout the world. The loss of 173 precious lives, and the injury of countless more, has created deep and permanent impacts, and the effects are still felt today.
In the aftermath of Black Saturday, communities across Victoria came together to remember, reflect and rebuild. Soon after the fires, grassroots and spontaneous memorials like The Poetry Tree in Strathewen became important ways in which fire-affected communities could remember and grieve together.
Since 2009 permanent memorials have been built both within and outside fire-affected regions. Memorials recognize the significant impact that the fires had on those living beyond the fire zone but still severely affected by the loss of family members, homes and livelihoods.
Expressions of love, remembrance and support are central to the process of recovery.
The 1st Anniversary Memorial Service commemorating the 2009 Victorian Bushfires invited participants to engage in symbolic rituals - to light a candle, leave a message, write on a stone. These helped to articulate grief and provided comfort to many.
The 2nd Anniversary Memorial Service encouraged people to actively participate in the service by writing a message on a 'ribbon of remembrance'.
'From the Heart: Remembering the 2009 Victorian Bushfires' was a program located in the temporary exhibition space on the upper west side of Melbourne Museum, from 5 February to 12 May 2019. The program was a partnership between the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and Museums Victoria. The program contained photographs from DELWP, and objects and images from Museums Victoria's Victorian Bushfires collection, including stories of community recovery. The program featured a Remembrance Tree for visitors to post their own reflections and leave messages of support.