Vanessa Meachen's Reviews > Kinglake-350

Kinglake-350 by Adrian Hyland
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Sep 04, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: disasters, australian
Read from August 10 to September 01, 2011

Overall a good read. Bearing in mind that this is just one small group of stories from one of the many communities devastated by Black Saturday, it does a good job of providing a variety of experiences and reactions. It is informed and overview-esque and yet very intimate. Told mainly from the POVs of emergency personnel including CFA volunteers and police, it focuses on Kinglake, St Andrews and Strathewen. Having the focus on the CFA gives a real sense of urgency and reinforces the fact that this was an unprecedented event - that no matter how many tankers and trucks and firefighters you had, there was no way they could have stopped the monster that was Black Saturday from happening.

The style is very "blunt Aussie" but that doesn't mean it's dumbed down or uninformative - in fact, there are a great many chapters which focus on quite complicated topics like the anatomy of bushfires, the special conditions making Victoria so bushfire-prone, and the ways people react in disasters. This would make it quite accessible to international readers.

My main wish is that someone would write something this informed about what happened in Marysville and in the areas of the Churchill fire on that day. I think it's important to remember those communities and those people, from the unprepared to the excellently and professionally prepared, who died that day, to honour them and to make sure we learn from the lessons of Black Saturday.
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