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Tahlia's Story

The 7th of February, 2009 was hot very hot.

I was only four. A playful kid, who loved to dance around the house.

I remember being in the living room with Mum, when I heard Dad bellow: “GET OUT, NOW”

The Black Saturday fires were heading straight for us.

 We frantically jumped in the car and raced right through the inferno.

But we made it to safety, at a friend’s place.

Tragically, our neighbours didn't make it. They were only 30 seconds behind us, but got trapped in the flames.

When we returned to our home, a few days later, it was completely destroyed.

The house l was born in... now, a pile of ash. 

I remember a bitter taste in the air, the stench of smoke, and the all-consuming darkness.

We eventually moved to a rental property and started rebuilding.

We’d travel 22km to our property every day.  We built, a shed, and today, it’s our home.

I’d get mad when people said, “Why haven’t you got your life back in order yet?

Just rebuild and move on.

It’s not that easy.

My siblings and I lost a lot of Mum and Dad’s time.  So much of it was, and still is, spent on rebuilding.

After eleven challenging years, the community has rebuilt itself, but the black trees are a constant reminder, of Black Saturday.