A free community event on Saturday, February 9 will mark the 10 year anniversary of the 2009 Victorian bushfires.

Residents are invited to enjoy morning tea at the Bendigo Bushfire Memorial at Albert Richardson Reserve on Marong Road from 10am to 11.30am.

The planned commemoration service will include guest speakers, an official welcome to country by the Dja Dja Wurrung Aboriginal Clans Corporation, a tree planting ceremony, performances by local school children and others.

City of Greater Bendigo council’s Frances Ford said there were two significant fires on Black Saturday in the Bendigo region.

“One started in Redesdale and another started in Bracewell Street, Maiden Gully,” Ms Ford said.

“About four square kilometres of land was affected by the Redesdale fire, while the Bracewell Street fire spread across 330ha and threatened much of urban Bendigo. It was also responsible for the death of one resident, the loss of over 60 homes and damage to over 120 properties, so more than 600 people were directly affected by the fire.

“The 10th anniversary community event will provide an opportunity to reflect on the impact of the fires on our local community, as well as the changes and long-term recovery that has occurred since that time.

“It will be a lovely morning of music, memories and morning tea and everyone is invited to attend.”

A range of community partners have had input into the development of the event to ensure it provides a dignified, respectful and moving opportunity for the community to gather and reflect.

A state anniversary commemoration will be held in Melbourne on Monday, February 4 to acknowledge the significant impact of the 2009 Victorian bushfires.

The anniversary will be a time for reflection as Victorians remember the catastrophic bushfires and the loss of 173 lives.

Many more were injured and lost their homes, with the memories of these events having long lasting impacts on a number of communities.

Police and Emergency Services Minister Lisa Neville said the horrific events of Black Saturday still impact on many communities.

“We need to honour those who died, those who lost homes and those brave men and women who fought to save lives and homes.”

Ms Neville said in the past few months, the government had spoken with family and friends of those who died, the bushfire-affected communities, and emergency services personnel about the commemoration service and other initiatives to ensure they meet community expectations.

The event at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton Gardens is being held on February 4, to allow for communities to hold their own events during the week or spend time with one another during
what the state government says will be a difficult time for many Victorians.

Consultations have been undertaken with survivors and the bereaved community about the state anniversary commemoration, and full details about the event will be released shortly.