Remembering the 1965 Bushfires – Valencia Creek Hall 1 March 2020

It was a packed hall at Valencia Creek for the launch of Peter McHugh’s booklet commemorating the 55th anniversary of the 1965 Gippsland Bushfires. The booklet was the result of extensive research, dozens of interviews, and contributions to a online mapping tool –  The launch gave people who experienced the fires the opportunity to catch up with old acquaintances and to share their stories and memorabilia. The fires went from 16 February to late March and burnt more than 740,000 acres from Valencia Creek to Bruthen. CFA Brigades came from all over the state to help East Gippslanders out and the Army and Air Force were called in to assist when a State of Emergency was declared on March 5. Despite their significance no consolidated account or official map of the fires existed. However Social Pinpoint mapping, interviews with community members and local staff as well as trawling through historical records has enabled the recreation of the boundaries of the event and the capturing of stories that continue to play such an part in the folklore of East Gippsland. The book – 1965 Gippsland Bushfires: A reconstruction of events from February to March 1965 –  gives a fascinating picture of the resources the Forests Commission and the CFA had available to fight fires and the account of reviews following the fires sounds all too familiar.
Valencia Creek Hall – March 1st
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