Following the fires, grief came in many forms. For many there was the devastation of losing a beloved family member. 64 people were killed by the fires, and recent research has revealed two more deaths in addition to the 62 reported at the time.
More victims suffered grief at losing a home, livestock or all their possessions. Then there was survivor guilt, the shame survivors experienced at not losing their home when all around them had. When combined with the grief of losing a township, a community and a livelihood, the intensity of emotions felt in southern Tasmania was deep and long-lasting.
However, even after the worst bushfires, life regenerates although emotional scars remain. The bush regrows and people rebuild their lives. Rural, outer urban or inner city, it did not matter - the fire struck everywhere. Rebuilding was very emotional.
Julie Barnes lost her father Ron Williams, who suffered burns to 90 per cent of his body while rescuing horses in Chigwell during the fires.
The Horton family escaped from their Allens Rivulet property with only Marie’s soot-covered sewing machine, which helped them rebuild their lives in their new home in suburban Hobart.
After their home was lost in the fires, the Canning family returned to the bush suburb of Fern Tree, rebuilding a new fire-proof home in the area they loved.
Image details: Chimneys of burnt-out houses in Waterworks Road, Dynnyrne. Image courtesy Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office.