Years ago, I drove up to Marysville, situated in the Yarra Valley, two hours north-east of Melbourne. It was a very pretty place then, but was caught up in the devastating bush fires of February 2009. Forty-per-cent of the Murrindindi Shire, of which Marysville is part, was burned, with the loss of 101 lives, and the destruction of homes, properties, animals and wildlife. The day the fire started, 7th February, is now known as Black Saturday.
I hadn’t been able to face going back but a month ago, it being ten years since then, I decided to see how the town was fairing now.
A memorial has been created as a space to reflect on all the ways the community and landscape were affected. Three pathways lead to a central gathering space.
The 1000 Hands Project was designed for residents of the district, holiday-home owners, family and friends. They were invited to make an impression of their hands in clay. The tiles formed an installation, symbolising everyone working together to rebuild their towns.
It’s a lovely space – very moving. I wandered around for awhile, then headed up to Steavenson Falls.
I loved this sign. I’d never given thought (science not being my best subject at school) to the fact that between earth and earth’s atmosphere, the amount of water remains constant. There is never a drop more, never a drop less. This is a story of circular infinity, of a planet birthing itself.
I wasn’t so sure about this sign. I was comfortable enough with the ‘Gentle hills’ on the way down, but coming back up nearly killed me.
It was a beautiful walk, though, through forests of Mountain Ash and along the Steavenson River.
I wasn’t keen on doing the long drive home that late in the day, so I stayed overnight at the Black Spur Inn at Narbethong, not far from Marysville.
I should have opted to stay in the hotel rather than the seemingly forgotten-about cabins miles away down the back yard, but you don’t know these things until it’s too late. Still, it was nice to be surrounded the huge trees and plenty of warbling magpies.
A glass of red in the sunshine finished the day.