In 2009 catastrophic bushfires devastated the state of Victoria. February 2019 marked the tenth anniversary of Black Saturday when, tragically, 173 people lost their lives. Many more were injured and homes lost. It was one of the worst natural disasters in the State of Victoria and the memories of the events continue to impact communities today.
An Advisory Panel, chaired by former Premier John Brumby, was convened to advise Government on planning for the 10-year anniversary to ensure the needs of impacted communities and the broader Victorian public are met, and how best to share the stories and legacy of the 2009 bushfires with Victorians and future generations.
In October 2018 Jen was asked to facilitate a community forum involving 32 participants, being a mix of community members from fire-impacted areas across the state, members of the Advisory Panel and staff from the Victorian Government. The forum aimed to gather community feedback about how best to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the 2009 fires. The forum also addressed the possibility of a permanent State memorial.
Jen was then asked to facilitate a further forum in December 2018 to gather community feedback about the potential approach for the State anniversary event to mark the 10 Year Anniversary of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires.
Amber Clarey and Kylie Cirak assisted with the reports for the two events.