Ash Wednesday Remembered – 40 Years On

Published on 19 January 2023

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Surf Coast Shire Council will host a community event to mark the 40th anniversary of the Ash Wednesday bushfires, providing a space for people to come together in memory and tribute.

Ash Wednesday Remembered – 40 Years On will also acknowledge the community spirit which provided a foundation for the region’s recovery.

The event will be at Aireys Inlet Community Centre from noon to 2pm on 16 February 2023.

Ash Wednesday’s inferno torched 41,000 hectares across the Otways region, burning from Deans Marsh to Lorne on the wings of a ferocious northerly wind and then up the coast to Anglesea under the influence of an aggressive south-westerly change.

It claimed three lives, 729 homes, 53 other buildings, many livestock and many kilometres of fencing.

“Ash Wednesday left a black scar across a significant part of what we now know as the Surf Coast Shire,” Councillor Gary Allen said. “Given the magnitude of the event, and the abrupt way it changed so many lives, it is important that we acknowledge this significant anniversary.

“Our commemorative event is for people from across the shire. It will be an informal event that will include some presentations. We primarily aim to bring people together to remember and reflect.

“Though Ash Wednesday is now four decades distant, the memories can be terribly close. Support will be available for any people who might find themselves encountering uncomfortable memories or emotions.”

People can register for the event via surfcoast.vic.gov.au/AshWednesday.

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