Remembering Black Saturday – with the blood of the victims, the ash of the forest and the sweat of those facing the foe, when drowned in our tears, new life did spring forth.

Until the new dawn, when the sun would rise over the southern hills of the Great Dividing Range to a clear smokeless sky, there was work to do.

We did care for men, women and little children. We did suppress the fires and communities were rebuilt. And most of all we had a lot of grieving to do and grieve we did. We grieved arm in arm, hand in hand, tear drop by blood filled tear drop.

Ten years on we remember you broken families, deeply wounded, still grieving daily for those lost. Haunted by the devastation, defenceless to its ferocity, the hopes, dreams and futures of thousands of Victorians reduced to smouldering ash, in an hour to be washed away forever by the autumn rain.

You who grieve this day, not one of us in this place dare walk in your shoes, nor try to understand, only fellow travellers can chance that.

Please accept this meagre offering, though we do not know your name, we do know you are there, and want you to know that we care.

When writing this piece, Ivan Smith was the incident controller at the Grantville fire, he was there on Ash Wednesday and Black Saturday. God bless you Ivan, and Gwen for supporting him.