St Andrews Community Bushfire Recovery Association (SACBRA) update

With the establishment of the project groups discussed in the last Community Bulletin, the SACBRA committee members are working hard to address community recovery priorities

The memorial project group along with council are identifying appropriate locations for a permanent Black Saturday memorial. Some funding has been made available for the creation of memorials and commemorative events.

This funding will make a valuable contribution to the affected communities by providing an opportunity to remember the bush fire events, to recognise the scale, impact and diversity of loss; to honour the courage and the efforts of community members and emergency service workers who risked their lives to help others; and to commemorate the spirit of the community during recovery.

The social group are planning a winter event to be held prior to the end of September that will encourage all of the community to come to the affected area of St Andrews and celebrate the regeneration of our community.

A building survey has been uploaded the St Andrews Recovery blog. This survey will also be sent to all members of the association. The survey will identify the needs of those who suffered significant building damage in the fires. The purpose of the building project group is to ensure that building in the area affected by the Black Saturday fires is a stress free as possible and will be concentrating on providing:

· Advocacy to council

· Support with permits

· Creating a skills bank of local, ethical tradespeople and builders

· Creating a register of supportive suppliers and those willing to provide discounts

· Support understanding the BAL and how that affects building design

Local Road signs have been reinstated by council on Mullers Road, Olives Lane, Wild dog Creek Road and Ninks Road to ensure continued security and privacy. The police also ask all residents to be vigilant and report any suspect travellers.

The St Andrews CFA is preparing to run extensive fire awareness courses of 6 hours duration in September in readiness for the next fire season. These courses will be intensive and it is recommended that all residence attend. More information about dates and locations will be provided as it comes to hand.

A gardening project group has also been established with Carmen Jensen at the helm. Carmen will be working with local gardening groups and residents in an effort to re-establish many of the beautiful gardens that were destroyed in the fires.

With the association database now complete the committee will begin to communicate directly with members via email and a location will be created for display of all communications at the St Andrews General Store for those who do not have Internet access.

There has been some concern amongst residents who have noticed that sewage tanks have been capped. This activity is actually part of the Grocon clean up and as local contractors have been engaged to provide the service their identity has not been immediately apparent. This facility will enable plumbers to identify the location of the current septic system easily in the rebuilding process. This is definitely capping only (with plastic caps that can be readily removed when needing to re-access the septic tank).

The 14th and 15th of November are dates to be set aside for a Quilt and Craft show to held at Dell Clarke’s beautiful home in Mittons Bridge Road.

Dell has had fabulous response from far and wide by quilters keen to exhibit their art. There is still room for local quilters to become involved.  This is a great opportunity for our community to showcase their skills and talent. Anyone who would like to exhibit or support the event in a volunteer capacity can contact Dell Clarke on 9710 1490.

Kirsten Jenkins from Council Kate Austin from DHS organised a tour of our local area for Lisa Neville, Minister for Mental Health and Community Services. Lisa Neville met with local St Andrews residents at the St Andrews Recovery Centre on Friday the 10th of July, where she listened and discussed the problems facing many of our community.  Taking a tour of the devastation particularly in Olives Lane certainly allowed Lisa to understand the magnitude of the February fires and the affect it still has on those who lost property and loved ones and the enormous challenge they have in front of them to rebuild not only their properties but also their lives. Many of Lisa’s entourage which consisted of government representatives and senior public servants were obviously moved by the experience.

The SACBRA committee is still calling for volunteers to join us in rebuilding St Andrews. There are opportunities for people to become involved in groups that working on community priorities identified at meetings held in June.

Please let Toni-anne know of your areas of interest at


9 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Rae said,

    Thanks Toni- Anne for your valuable summary of SACBRA’s committee’s work. Many residents are keen to hear what is happening so a summary like this puts everyone in the picture. With regard to the funds available for a memorial, perhaps the community may need to know that these funds are for the memorial itself, and are unlikely to be available for the purchase of real estate in the town.
    Many of the women of the Black Belt have great ideas for festivals and functions and perhaps they could be encouraged to use this web site to feed in some ideas to the social committee.
    It’s great to hear about the Craft event and the gardening project. I’m wondering if an amateur photographic exhibition could be set up, so that the blokes ( and women) from the area who have some interesting pics might be forced to get them off the computer and onto a print. It could be run like the chook meet or at the hall.

  2. 2

    Amber Dixon said,

    Thanks for your comments Rae – SACBRA is keen to keep everyone in touch and bring life to any ‘great ideas’ that will help our community in its recovery.

    The SACBRA Social Group is planning a big celebration event (probably in September) and we are looking for people to help us make it happen.

    If anyone out there would like to be involved – any assistance would be most welcome. Simply make contact with any of the SACBRA Committee members and indicate your interest in getting involved in the Social Group, or email Toni-Anne using the above link.

    Keep the inspiration coming – a local photographic exhibition is a great idea!!

    • 3

      Dawn McDonnell said,

      Hi Amber

      It was good to meet you at the bushfire forum on Tuesday. I would like to be involved in the SACBRA Social Group and assist with social and community events. Looking forward to meeting with you to discuss further. regards, Dawn

      • 4

        Amber Dixon said,

        Hi Dawn;

        Thanks for your offer to help with the SACBRA social group events … we have a lot on our plate, so every extra pair of hands makes a huuuge difference.

        I found Tuesday’s bushfire agency forum to be a great event for meeting people and networking. It was particularly good to see so many groups represented and to be able to talk to them about the fantastic work they have been doing in our community.

        Looking forward to working with you.

  3. 5

    Sue Aldred said,

    Hi Amber, happy to help on the Social Group/sub-committee. I’ve done lots of community work & organising events etc. and spoke to Toni-Anne briefly about this at the Black Belt morning tea.

    Also been talking to Dawn and other friends about the possibility of establishing a forge or combined forge/workshop in St Andrews – primarily as a way of getting men together but also for skills development for all community members.

    Is there a skills database being developed? I think this would be a great idea. I’m having a little trouble navigating around this particular website, but have skills that I would like to add to the list.

    • 6

      Amber Dixon said,

      Thanks Sue … we look forward to working with you.

      In answer to your question … YES!! there is a skills database being developed by our building project group – they have lots of projects on the boil, but this is definitely one of them.

      Toni-Anne is the contact for the building project group, and I’m sure they would be more than happy to hear from anyone out there who has skills to offer…

  4. 7

    Rae said,

    Hi Amber, I now remember a conversation I had at the Black Belt morning tea. There was the suggestion that a loom ( currently located at Allwood House in Hurstbridge) might be able to be moved to St Andrews and used in the traditional way- ie people drop in to the St Andrews Hub, or wherever it is located, and add a line or two to the project rug. Vicki Kaye might be contacted about this.

    • 8

      Amber Dixon said,

      Thanks for the idea Rae … we’ll add it to the list for discussion at our next events group meeting.

      If anyone reading this post is aware of other projects or suggestions that are circulating in the community that would benefit from some assistance or coordination from the SACBRA events group… let us know!!

      Better still, come along to our next meeting: 1pm TOMORROW (SUNDAY 19 JULY) @ ST ANDREWS FIRE STATION and get involved!

  5. 9

    Sue Aldred said,

    Hi Rae, I have a loom coming, donated to us. Apparently it needs a little TLC but I am sure there will be someone in our talented group who can attend to it! Ihave never woven but would love to have a go. I think the idea of a community piece is lovely. I am away next week but should be able to pick it up after then.

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