Black Saturday horror and hope remembered

A decade on from Victoria's Black Saturday bushfires that claimed 173 lives, Melbourne has remembered the loss and resilience.

What's in a name? Quite a lot for the survivors and families of those lost in Victoria's deadly Black Saturday fires.

Even 10 years on, saying the names of those lost out loud is still difficult for many to do.

And hearing them at the 10-year commemorative event in Melbourne on Monday night, would have been too much to bear.

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"The secret is not to read the names - because it really puts that human factor into it," Marysville survivor Tony Thompson told AAP after the service.

"They put the names on the screens instead of reading them, which was good because some of us wouldn't have been able to handle it."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison was among some 1500 people who attended the anniversary event, providing the public opportunity to remember the 173 lives lost on February 7, 2009.

Many in attendance were dignitaries, VIPs and organisation representatives, including Victoria Police and the CFA.

Former Victoria Police chief and Victorian Bushfire Recovery chair Christine Nixon also attended the service, and afterwards described the service as the "right tone".

"Nothing prepared us for the challenges we faced following Black Saturday," Strathewan Primary School principal Jane Hayward told the gathering.

She lived through the tragedy in one of the townships ravaged by the fires, losing her school and friends.

The impact was "unimaginable", she said, but so was the level of support that flooded after the tragedy.

"Our students had lived through and witnessed a major disaster, it just surrounded them. Their little lives were turned upside down," Ms Hayward said.

"I'm extremely proud to see young people making their way in the world and doing amazing things with their lives.

"From the most challenging of times have come some incredible things. We have seen the strength of human spirit and resilience."

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews read acknowledged the bereaved and read a poem, while Mr Morrison did not make an address.

Some 400 people were injured in the fires, hundreds of homes were lost, along with thousands of wildlife.

Numerous community events are planned across Victoria to mark the official anniversary on Thursday.


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Published 4 February 2019 at 9:48pm
Source: AAP