Bushfire 12 months on - Reedy Swamp, Vimy Ridge, Tathra

Mar 04, 11:59 PM

As the one year anniversary of the Reedy Swamp, Vimy Ridge, and Tathra Bushfire approaches many in the community will be feeling the effects of the last 12 months.

It's been a crazy busy time for many. Activity always implies progress and suggests a 'recovery' that should be well advanced, but that is not everyone's experience.

Milestones, like March 18, will challenge those expectations and perhaps stir new or festering discontent and emotion.

Clinical psychologist David Younger wants people to be ready for what the anniversary might bring, he says people might be in for another surprise as the rollercoaster of this event hurtles forward.

In the days before, he wants people to do some thinking about how they might mark the day. There is no wrong answer or response, but David does want you to stop for a moment and give March 18 a thought before you find yourself in the middle of it.

"If we leave our collection of stories in the cupboard and never take a look at them, all too often, down the track, something else will happen and people then realise - far out I never made the space to look at what went on in my life back then," he says.

In this, episode one of a special three-episode podcast series to mark the anniversary, David talks about the range of experiences people had on March 18 and since. People who lost their home, people who mourn the loss of their neighborhood, people who evacuated, people who fought the flames, people like you.

David also tackles the growing resentment in the community around 'recovery' and 'the journey'.

Support services and advice:

Australian Red Cross

Recovery Officer - Linda Mayo, phone 0438 901 481; email lmayo@redcross.org.au

South East NSW Primary Health Network/Coordinare

Free counseling is available, visit their website to find a local provider or call 4474 8410.

Bega Valley Shire Council's Fire Recovery Support Service

Anne, June, and Carolyn, phone 6499 2475; email recovery@begavalley.nsw.gov.au

Recovery Hour podcast series

The ‘Recovery Hour, Life After Disasters and Emergencies’ podcast, with David Younger, Clinical Psychologist, subscribe HERE.

Anniversary events:

On Sunday, March 17, the whole Bega Valley community is invited to join in a range of events designed to help people remember what is good and great about this community and to take strength and support for the ongoing challenges.

Thompsons to Tathra Bushwalk, 50 to 75 minutes

Meet at Mahogany Rd, Thompsons for an 8 am start. No parking at Thompsons, hop on the free shuttle bus from Tathra Surf Club from 7:30 am.

Terrain will include Thompsons and Tathra verge, fire roads, and mountain bike tracks. The bus can follow part of the route for those wanting to join but unable to walk. The walk will have a leader and sweep and sections of the walk will be set aside as silent. The walk will finish at Taylor Square.

Please bring a hat, sunscreen, and water. A first aid officer will be available.

Tree planting on Tathra Headland

Briefing at 9:30 am, event will run until 11 am.

Free shuttle from Tathra Surf Club at 9:00.

Bring your own hat, gloves, sunscreen, and water

Taylor Square Get Together 10 am to 1 pm

Gather together between 10 am and 1 pm for live music, jumping castle, free BBQ.

Official thanks - 11:45 am to 12 pm

Wet weather plan, meet in the Surf Club.

Tathra Anniversary Services

March 17, 5 pm at Tathra Hall. Guest speaker - Stephen Robinson, one of the early responders and National Disaster Recovery Officer with a message of hope and renewal. All welcome. 

March 18, 7 am at Tathra Headland. A brief reflection - fire, rubble, regrowth, and hope.

Royal Military College Duntroon Band

On the green at ...