Page 122

VICTORIA BROWN - CONT. Shire of Esperance President (2015 - Present)

The Prime Minister visited our town not long after and

Cr Lara McIntyre and placed in the Esperance Civic

It was then that our recovery really started and continued

met with the community and volunteers and emergency

Centre for anyone to sign. So many people wrote in them

over the months well up to and past the first anniversary

services who had worked, and were continuing to work,

to share memories and show their love & support for the

date in November 2016. We chose to acknowledge the

so hard in so many different areas. He was particularly

families. Freddy’s book was particularly full, packed with

day very simply, with the four flags of Australia, Great

sensitive and understanding at a private meeting with the

so many messages for our local legend and his family.

Britain, Norway and Germany flying alongside one

Curnow family who had lost their father, husband, son

another at our jetty headland. A small speech from me,

and brother in the fires. The Premier of WA, Colin Barnett,

From the onset of that cruel deliverance from nature and

a minute’s silence, an unveiling of four bronze memorial

also visited us along with many other State and Federal

the ensuing inferno the human spirit shone through. Our

statues on Grigg Road, Scaddan, and a gathering of

politicians. The Premier was the first to kick off donations

amazing community, and those who came to help us,

those who wanted to physically be together to mark the

to the Lord Mayor’s Distress Relief Fund which eventually

rallied and rose to the challenges, wrapping arms around

events of a year ago.

raised $1.7 million all of which was successfully

those who needed it most and lifting the community

delivered to the fire victims. Both the Lord Mayor of Perth,

onwards and upwards. We witnessed courage, tenacity,

I remember one particular story told to me by Sergiy

Lisa Scaffidi, and Her Excellency the Governor of WA,

compassion, generosity, unity and camaraderie. People

Sushchov, father of Anna. He said he was amazed

Kerry Sanderson, visited our community to offer and give

came from near and far to help repair burnt out farms

by the generosity and out pouring of compassion to

support. It was very much appreciated.

(BlaizeAid), bring in food for stock and fencing materials

his family that had come from our community. He had

(WA Farmers), offer social and emotional support (Red

come with his wife, Natalya to be in Esperance one year

For me the hardest meetings of all were with the parents

Cross). People cooked cakes and biscuits and meals

on and to attend an unveiling of bronze sculptures to

and families of our own local legend Freddy Curnow,

(CWA, Baked Relief and local groups and businesses).

commemorate the lives lost on November 15th 2015.

and with those of Tom Butcher, Anna Winther and Julia

Farmers helped farmers, neighbours helped neighbours,

Kohrs-Lichte. Freddy died doing the job of a volunteer fire

people made new friends, and the Shire Council Local

He said that they had booked into some accommodation

fighter and trying to warn others of the impending danger.

Fire Recovery Group was formed with sub commitees

and that the owner had asked if they were the family of

Tom, Anna and Julia were on an overseas adventure

in finance, infrastructure, environment and community

one of the young people who had died a year ago in

far from their homelands when they were caught in the

support. Then suddenly Christmas was upon us, and

the fires. He said yes, they were, to which the owner of

fire front. There were no adequate words of comfort to

there were end of school concerts and graduations to

the accommodation replied, “Well you will not need to

offer anyone. All we could give was an assurance that

attend, Carols by Candlelight, the Christmas Pageant,

pay for your stay with us while you are here.” Sergiy

their children would never be forgotten and their names

the Seniors’ Christmas Dinner…..and life rolled on, and

was so touched by that generosity and said he truly felt

always mentioned in our town. We presented each family

events in the nation and the world rolled on, and the

welcomed and known and cared for in our town.

with a condolence book. These had been organised by

intense interest in our small coastal town diminished.

pg 120 | VICTORIA BROWN

Profile for shireofesperance

Our Bushfire Recovery Story  

"Our Bushfire Recovery Story" is a memoir of community strength & resilience. As part of the Recover, Rejuvenate, Restore Project, an invita...

Our Bushfire Recovery Story  

"Our Bushfire Recovery Story" is a memoir of community strength & resilience. As part of the Recover, Rejuvenate, Restore Project, an invita...