It’s been one year since bushfires ravaged the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, destroying nearly 200 homes and damaging 200 more.
Residents are still feeling the devastation because many were not fully insured.
Lucy Smith reports.
It’s been a day of mixed emotions as locals gather to commemorate and contemplate the loss, as well as the powerful community response that followed.
Incredibly no one died in the fire, but it took its toll on locals.
Over half the residents have applied to start rebuilding homes in the area, but many probably never will.
Some were under-insured, others were scared away from living in the area.
Ken McNally, Bushfire Victim: “Psychologically, I doubt very much if this community will ever recover, or it’ll take a very, very long time.”
The fires started in Springwood, and spread quickly to Winmalee and Yellow Rock.
50 homes on one road alone were destroyed.
The Mayor says many residents fell into depression and post-traumatic stress, but the experience bonded the town.
Mark Greenhill, Blue Mountains Mayor: “This has always been a community that’s hung together, we’ve always been very tight, I think we’re even tighter now.”
Organisers arranged ceremonies today to applaud bravery and celebrate the community spirit.
Joan Murray, Bushfire Victim: “It’s beautiful, it really is. 17th October last year is the day hell came to visit, but there’s a lot of heavenly days out there as well.”
The cause of the fires is still not known, but 300 residents have launched a negligence claim against Endeavour Energy Foundation, claiming a fallen powerline sparked the destruction.
Lucy Smith, QUT News.