Priest's tribute to "Aussie spirit" in Victorian firefighters

The parish priest of Stawell in Victoria's fire-devastated Grampians region has praised the "tremendous spirit and great courage" of firefighters and local communities who fought to overcome the threat posed by last month's bushfires.

The E-News of the Diocese of Ballarat reported yesterday that Fr Wally Tudor identified the strain of generosity as "the Aussie spirit when in times of adversity everyone chips in because we can identify with the suffering".

A number of Diocesan communities have been affected by the tragedy of bushfires and storms this year. First there was the New Years Eve blaze, then came the big one that burnt out over 120,000 hectares of the Grampians National Park along with 24 houses, stock and pasture land.

"We recognise the many wonderful firefighters and others who have given assistance to the communities of Lake Bolac, Stawell, Halls Gap, Moyston, Pomonal, Great Western, Willaura and throughout the Grampians region," he said.

"The CFA, DSE and local communities came together with a tremendous spirit and great courage to put the fire under control. Now help is pouring in from other parts of the state and from interstate with feed for surviving stock and other services. For example, semi-trailers of hay have come from the Western District and the community of Quambatook are sending the collection from their Ecumenical Service, held on a fifth Sunday of the month, to the parish of Ararat for bushfire relief."

"Once again we experience the Aussie spirit when in times of adversity everyone chips in because we can identify with the suffering. We acknowledge with gratitude all who have played their part in this tragedy. And we especially remember Malcolm Wilson and his son, Zeke, who perished in the fire. Zeke spent most of his primary school years at St Patrick's School and his former classmates are devastated by his tragic death."

Focus On (Ballarat E-News 31/1/06 - not on website)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Diocese of Ballarat

Life gets going after the bushfire (The Age 1/2/06)
Fighting back (Wimmera Mail Times 31/1/06)
PM offers fire victims $1000 (Herald-Sun 28/1/06)

1 Feb 2006