Sunday, February 8, 2009

Black Saturday.

What a tragedy.
So many people have been affected, and I am just a small dot amongst them.
My family moved to Marysville in 1992 when I just started grade 2.
If you haven't been there, all I can say is that it was the perfect place to bring up kids, it was beautiful, fresh air, clean water, and freedom.
I went to Marysville primary school, I think there were around 12 people in our grade 6. A very small town.
My best friend was Clare, we did everything together. Everything I did in the 12 years I lived there usually involved her.
Next door to our house was 'the haunted house' an abandoned burned out wreck full of graffiti, missing floor, broken bottles, and ghosts of course! At one of my birthday's I took everyone into the house and we saw a body behind one of the ripped up couches. Two legs sticking out. We freaked out and made Clare go back and have a look, we all followed close behind. It turned out to be a dummy that the fire brigade used to practice fire rescues. It was very funny.
I had my first kiss outside Marysville pool (It was disgusting and had NO idea what everyone was going on about)
My sister and I ran a beading business at the local market called bod bits, we'd sell hand made jewellery and do wraps in other childrens hair. It was always and forever all about making money in Marysville
Clare and I had a dog walking business where we charged $3 per hour, we invented a secret club called living fossil where we'd have regular meetings to bring up money making schemes. Pet rocks was a brilliant copycat invention. We imagined being rich.
Probably too often after school Clare and I would walk to the payphone, prank the fish and chip shop to see if they decided to open that day, and if so, we'd walk up the hill to order... (lazy?)
"could we please have a really really big lot of $1.50 chips, and two extra extra thick vanilla thick shakes please?"
We hated it when Rebecca worked because she made them too runny.
I'm so so lucky I have such strong and happy memories there. We did so many funny things, and my mind is just on overload remembering and trying to pick all the details.
I've always been a very personal person, always took way too many photos, always had a diary, and always dreamed of filling it. I love telling stories of my past and love remembering so you'll continue to hear of my adventures in Marysville for a long time to come.

On Saturday the 7th of Feburary 2009, the place where I, and hundreds of others hold so many memories was completely wiped out. Fire burned down all but a few buildings in the whole town.
The house that I was brought up in until I moved to Melbourne after year 12 is most likely gone.
Dad hasn't been back to check, but he last heard that nothing was left standing on Hill Avenue.
My darling beloved dog Lucy was there at the time and oh how I miss her.
My Dad didn't get to save anything as he was out fighting the fires as a volunteer CFA firefighter. What hero's.
His whole life was there. He ran his business from home, he treasured everything he owned.
So much is irreplaceable, His Dad and Grandpa's war medals, all of our photos, and most of all the house.
When we moved there we planned the renovation, Dad turned this lovely little 2 bedroom cottage into a two story picture perfect house. Only a few months ago he finally finished the kitchen. All he has is his fire uniform that he's wearing and oh my gosh my tears are mostly for him. He's lost close friends, his community, and all of his history. I'm so worried. He is okay though, he spent the night on Gallipoly Park Oval in Marysvilles centre, as he watched everything around him fall apart. I can't imagine what he must have seen and the fear he would have had.

The thing that I value the most was there and is now lost. It was called my 'special bag' Paul Jennings (My at the time favorite author) told me to make a time capsule only to be opened when I turn 21.
In it was all my diaries, love letters, signed school dresses, report cards, school photos, my hand print from when I was a baby, My favorite book as a child 'Peepo' and a lot of stuff that if anyone else were to find would be meaningless, a stick that I kept from primary school that we used to 'fetch' when Clare and I were playing dogs, a keyring in the shape of a duck made of pink crystalized plastic that Bradley Mcleod (Big crush in Prep) gave me for my birthday, and a lot of stuff that I have no idea what it is or why I kept it, but it was important at the time.

Everyone has been so lovely, people I haven't spoken to in years have been calling to see if I'm okay, family who I miss so much and have lost contact with have found my number and didn't even know I had left the town. People I don't even know, who have seen that I have lost have given me their sympathies. Friends offering to donate clothing to the community, creating funds to send to the people who have lost loved ones.
The death toll for my small town is up to 19, and will probably keep climbing. 19 people I quite possibly could know. I dread to hear names.

If anyone would like to contribute in some way please do, there are so many hundreds of people who are now homeless, and I hope you can help.

To donate to the Red Cross State Government Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund:

* Visit
* Phone 1800 811 700
* Any NAB, ANZ, Westpac or Commonwealth Bank branch
* Any Bunnings store
* By direct deposit to the Victorian Bushfire Relief Fund - BSB 082-001, Account number 860-046-797

Myer Bushfire Appeal
* All proceeds to the Salvation Army. Donate at any Victorian Myer store

I have been watching this video, and I recognize one place. I know that town like the back of my hand and I can only recognize one place. Oh its so sad.

That is a short video containing the video from a helicopter driving over the town.

I don't even know how to feel when I see it.

Here are some of my photos that I thankfully stole from home years ago.

My sister, our dog Jessie and I in front of our house before we started renovating.

The house we will remember forever.

At least once a year in snow season snow would cover our yard. We used to hope it would get so thick we wouldn't have to go to school. That happened once, what a good day that was.

This is my beautiful dog Lucy. The smartest dog I have ever met.
She knew everything.
We'd have to spell out words and even then she started to learn them.
'Get the ball' 'Get around the back' dad would say 'go shit' and she'd go, 'upstairs' 'in the car' 'Get back' she'd take two steps back, etc.
She'd do what she was told, she loved my Dad more than anyone else and looked up to him so much. Of a night time she would come and sit in front of him and just stare. She was so elegant, protective, dedicated, loving, playful, smart and beautiful. I miss her so much.

A place highly recognized. Stevensons falls, one of the main attractions of Marysville that people will remember.

Thanks for reading, and for caring.
My heart goes out to the families who have lost their loved ones. I can't even imagine.



honey and lemon said...

oh you poor thing.
im so so very sorry, thats dreadful.
I hope everyone is okay and good luck for your dad getting everything back together again.
These fires are horrible, i was actually crying as i read your post.
I went to marysville for camp once and it was beautiful.
im so sorry for everything you've lost.
good luck and try and look on the bright side.
so very very sorry.

Skye said...

Oh Trish, I'm so sad for your dad and your family. We have family friends who also lost their home (in the family for more than a century) near Marysville. My husband has many memories of that town and just can't believe it has been wiped out.

Such a desperately sad time for Victorians, and Australians in general too.

balcairn said...

I am so sorry to hear about this. All the best to you & your family, and everyone else tragically affected. ♥

POP!shonelle said...

the memories you have will last forever, and the very fact that you have just shared them with us shows how strong you are. please let us know if there is ANYthing your family or friends need. just remember, everyone who has been affected in some way, great or small, is in the thoughts and prayers of the entire state right now. xx
back to the box of tissues...

Sharon Rose said...

Hi there-I'm very very sorry for your loss, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

Mel said...

I've had some names that have made me cry. And the article in today's sun made me weep. Then comes the relief when i hear of people who are alive... The Hunters, the Gleesons, father Schourder.

I think whats worse is the missing.. the people we haven't heard from.

Hearts and thoughts with you.

ChucklovesBob said...

I'm so sorry for your dad and everyone in your hometown. I hope everything slowly gets better.

Anonymous said...

It is so, so sad.
Whole villages and towns just wiped out. So far the death count is 133. That isn't even including beloved family animals and pets.

Quite possibly the worst natural disaster in australian history. Please donate!
Trish-I am sorry for your losses

angel wings and hearts said...

absolutely shocking news isn't it. my thoughts and prayers go out to all affected. our words offer little consolation i know. i could not even begin to imagine what these people are going thru. we are thinking of you and our hearts go out to you.

Kat George said...

Trish I'm reading this at work and you've got me in tears. I wish I could give you a big hug or something. I'm going to donate some money right now instead.

I wish you and your family health and safety- I know it's hard to lose the things you have lost but as long as you have your family you will make it through anything.

OK now I'm making myself get even more sobby so I'm going to have to stop writing. Just be brave, you will always have your memories, even if you lose the physical momentos you picked up along the way. I can't imagine any of this making it any easier but you seem like a smart, strong girl, so as my mum always says in an attempt to sound a little bit hardcore 'keep on truckin'.


NapoleonsOwner said...

My heart is breaking for you :(

Lavender said...

I'm so sorry.

Sarah said...

oh gosh, trish.
this made me so so so sad.

i have been following this terrible situation since Saturday but until i read your post today i did feel a little disconnected from the recent events.

even though we've never met, i do feel like i know you via your blog and reading your post has really hit home the absolute magnitude of the situation for not only you, but hundreds of other families.

I'm so so so sorry to hear about your loss. i can't begin to comprehend what it must feel like.

I hope you and your family are doing okay.

katiecrackernuts said...

The blogging world's heart goes out to you and yours. Your Dad is a brave, brave, brave man. Please tell him and all the CFA volunteers that from us.

Miss Lady Finger said...

Oh my, I do not know what to say. I don't think there are any words.
I am thinking of and sending love, to you, your family and your community xxx

Vintage Verve said...

Oh Trish. I am so so so so sorry. I am sorry for your precious memories lost and for poor Lucy.

I am sorry that your Dad has lost everything he owns, but I am glad he is physically ok.

Mr VV and I have decided that we don't need this month's savings and have donated it to the Red Cross appeal. I have also registered to donate blood.

What else can we do?

Let me know what you need and I will find some way of getting it to you.

Be strong over the coming days and weeks when the horrible enormity of those now gone is realised. Be strong for the survivors.

Wishing you all my heartfelt love.

xx VV

Imelda Matt - The Despotic Queen of Shoes said...

My heart goes out to you and your family.

josephine said...

all my love and sympathy goes out to you and your father and everyone else affected by this awful tragedy. even here in queensland i'm starting to hear from friends of mine who have family or friends in the affected areas, it really is touching all of us. i'm so glad you have so many happy memories to hold on to, thank you for sharing your story xox

Bucca said...

Aw honey that is awful!
I'm in Melbourne too and I can only imagine how terrible it must feel to be in your position.
I'll be praying for you and your family.

Trend de la Creme said...

Trish, I am so sorry for you and your family. I cannot believe that you are going through this. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

thevintageyear said...

Trish, there are no words to describe how awful this must be for you. Childhood houses are always nostalgic but to have it all gone... and your dad, and dog, and all of your memories. My heart is breaking for you, am really truly sorry to hear of what you've lost. Hope you are coping ok, I wish I could take you some muffins or something. :(

Make Do Style said...

Gosh words are quite meaningless since it is so horrific; the loss of live, the loss of homes and the loss of personal treasures. It has been so upsetting to hear and take in so though many an ocean sperates people in other places do care and send hope and love.

Calypso said...

I admire your strength and courage to find words in such situation! if it was me, i would be in pieces.
when i switched on the news this morning, i was moved to tears. thats was the first time ive come close to crying over my breakfast, while watching BBC news.
You, your dad and so many others are true heroes!
although you've lost so many things, you still have memories and nothing have destroy those.

K.Line said...

I'm so truly sorry to hear this. Your father is a wonderful person to put himself at risk to help others.

Hammie said...

Oh Trish I am so sorry for your loss too. I grew up in the western suburbs - Altona and Haddon. The Haddon half was similar to your upbringing and on Saturday I was waking my sisters up texting to see if they were all okay.
I cant really take in the scale of the thing yet - So much worse than ash wednesday and I am especially shocked as I had a conversation with my sister and her husband in January where they told me they would "stay" to protect the house when and if the warnings came. while my younger sister would take the little ones into town.
I feel so priveledged that they didnt have to make that choice on Saturday; but shocked at how wrong it all went, when the fires moved so fast and no one had a chance to stay or go.

February Dragon.

Trish; all the people who know you can do something for your Dad: if anyone has any photographs in their own collection of your family and your people, they can scan them and print them and put them in an album. They can write letters to tell him that they love him and how much he means and he can collect them and start to put back together some kind of a soul memory which at the moment must be just a hole of terrible loss.

I've linked you just in case anyone here in Ireland recognises your or your dad.

Your tribute to your town is beautiful - I am truly sorry for all of your loss.


(found you via Mattie)

Allison said...

I'm so sorry for you.

You and your family and all those affected by this tragedy are in my prayers.

Missa said...

I don't even know what to say, I've got a lump in my throat for you right now. It looks like such a lovely place to have grown up and you're so lucky to have such a wonderful memory to be able to keep all those details with you.

Take care Trish, my heart goes out to you and your Dad and all affected. So sorry... :(

nollyposh said...

~Love~ and (((hugs))) and *tears* xox

Jeanette said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I'm so sorry to hear of your losses. My thoughts are with everyone in Victoria.

Vegan and Vintage said...

Big hugs for you my lovely.

Mike and I have been thinking of you, let me know if there is anything I can do


AnastasiaC said...

im so deeply sorry to hear of the loss of your family home, your dog and your friends & neighbours that so sadly died this past weekend.
What a brave man your father is and we all thank him and all the other volunteer firefighters trying to save our beautiful land.
I hope yYour childhood memories are a comfort to you now, such a heartfelt post, it sounds like such a great community to have grown up in...big hugs to you
take each day slowly and we're thinking of you and all the victims of Black Saturday

potty mouth mama said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I loved reading your memories of your beautiful town. I'm sorry to hear about Jessie. So devastating. I hope your Dad is ok. We're all thinking of you all - we can't even imagine what it was like. Lots of love, xxx

harbourmaster said...

thoughts are with you and all others touched by this disaster :(

jazzygal said...

My heart goes out to you, your family and anyone affected by this enormous disaster.

You write so beautifully about your hometown.

God bless you all.

Jacinta said...

I'm so so sorry.

I have been following your blog for some time and read through all your fantastic posts, and i wanted to tag you for cute blogs. I feel guilty that it fell on such a sad blog.

But you can find the information on my blog if you would like to do it.

I'm really sorry for your loss. All the best.

Iheartfashion said...

So SO sorry about this horrible tragedy. I can't imagine how devastating it is to lose the place you grew up in, not to mention the human cost. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your whole community.

beccasauras said...

a beuatiful post, you have me in tears! A lovely tribute, this is such a sad time and I'm sending big hugs to everyone, and especially you, my Smurf friend.
I don't know what else to say. This sort of thing takes all your words away, or makes them seem flippant, but I'm glad your family are ok.

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