A pleasant Sunday afternoon trip to …Kinglake

I hadn’t revisited any of the places burnt out during the Black Saturday fires of 2009.  I think of them often though.  Standing in my dressing gown on foggy winter mornings as I go out to get the paper, I often think of Marysville where I spent several September school holidays as a child.  The air has that same cold, wet feel, and you can smell the soil and the trees.  I would dearly love to be able to return to stay in a little faux-Tudor guest house with a name starting ‘Mary…’.  Marylands, Mary Lyn- it wouldn’t matter really.  But the economics of the guest house concept, fire regulations, demands for ensuites and the sophistication that sneers at the joys of table-tennis and croquet etc. will conspire to make this an impossibility, I’m afraid.

But Kinglake is still there, just up the road a bit.  For a long time I felt reluctant to go there just to rubber-neck, and I still do feel a little voyeuristic.  But three years have passed, and I know that Kinglake is “open for business” and perhaps I don’t need to feel so diffident any more.

It’s still fairly clear as you drive along the Kinglake Rd that there has been a large fire here.  The bright green furze that grew onto the tree trunks over the first winter has now faded to a more normal eucalyptus green and many small sapling are growing underneath the burnt out trunks.

A number of bushfire-recovery services started up in the wake of the fires.  They are still there.

The Kinglake Ranges Rebuilding Advisory Centre and Community Facility

The new CFA (Country Fire Authority) building is big, new and prominent

The temporary village has almost been dismantled. You can see by the roads and power outlets that it had been much bigger

The sheer scale of the fire is most apparent when you see a whole mountain still bare covered with what looks like matchsticks.




5 responses to “A pleasant Sunday afternoon trip to …Kinglake

  1. Even though Australian bush is quite resilient to fire, that fire was one to behold and not taken lightly even by Australian bush. But it clearly was not an extreme heat fire our bush had not experienced before. Still our bush can regenerate by a process of renewal rather than repair. I guess some fire towns are renewing rather than repairing.

  2. Nice post RJ. We drove through some of that area at the end of 2009, not to be voyeurs but because we were taking my then 95 year old MIL on her sentimental journey back home to Melbourne and the Dandenongs. She used to holiday in Marysville too. I have a couple of wonderful (if you can say that) photos of the area, almost completely black except for the new growth on the tree ferns. Nature will regenerate, but for people (the survivors) it’s such a horribly slow process (as I know from my own SIL who lost her house in our 2003 fires).

  3. For years I had been saying that I would like to visit Kinglake again and I never did. That is one regret I have.

    It would be interested to hear from a resident how they feel about tourists visiting the area now. I agree with you about thinking through the ethics of it all.

  4. Interesting to see the progress Janine, it’s amazing how the bush recovers, I hope the people can too.

  5. Pingback: ‘Melbourne’ by Sophie Cunningham | The Resident Judge of Port Phillip

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