"The past is never fully gone. It is absorbed into the present and the future. It stays to shape what we are and what we do."
Sir William Deane, Governor-General of Australia, Inaugural Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture, August 1996.

The Firefighters

In Victorian forestry, fire was a predominant component of the working lives of most people. It is not surprising then that some have documeted what they experienced. There are a small number of stories on this page so far, but no doubt more will surface with time.

The stories so far are from:

Leon Pederick

The fire raged and roared above us as we retreated along the tunnel, with only a wet blanket between us and the fiery intruder invading our camp. Smoke poured in and we were, for the time being, trapped and in darkness.

It all happened more than sixty years ago, but I remember it as if it was yesterday. The year was 1952. I was a newly graduated forester, 21 years old, and engaged in resource assessment and themapping of the upper Sandy's Creek catchment, about 40 km north of Bairnsdale in eastern Victoria. The team consisted of three foresters (Peter Britton, Len Laing and me) and five chainmen. Our camp was positioned on the end of a short track off the Mt Baldhead Road, which followed along the divide between the south-flowing Wentworth and Nicholson Rivers. The track to our camp had been constructed by gold miners many years ago, and it wound down off the ridge to a spot where a horizontal tunnel been driven deep into the hillside. Our mess hut was placed next to the tunnel entrance to take advantage of a stream of clear, cold water flowing from it. To emphasise the temperature of the water, we called the camp 'Coool Waters'.

Read the Full Story

Bernie Evans

- to be written from recorded information.

Mark Stump

Walking to Work

Peter McHugh

Bushfire Widows

Kester Baines

Mobile Support Crew Experiences