Victorian Bushfire Assistance

In February 2009 bushfires caused havoc in regional Victoria. We collect here some of Tasmanian Rotarians’ responses.

The district committee formed to administer the disbursement of the funds given to the bushfire appeal was

PDG Michael Perkins CHAIR
PP Kim Pitt Rotary Club of Kingston
PDG Gerard Blizzard Rotary Club of Smithton

We have been fortunate in the relationship we have with the Rotary Club of Hazelwood in Victoria in over sighting projects and ensuring that our stewardship of funds are correctly administered.

Some of the Key Projects Completed

The funding that was returned from the Marysville Business Hub to the Vic/Tas committee has now been directed further assist the Kinglake Youth Space Centre. This will now be utilised in part to build a garage and workshop to house a bus, donated by Bendigo Bank and a car to be used for driver education. Mev. Connell the Chairman of the Vic/Tas Bushfire committee has been researching out projects for consideration with the focus being on assisting to rebuild community spirit.

  • Marysville Business Hub $75,000.
  • Kinglake Youth Space Building $100,000.
  • Traralgon South Men’s Shed & Community Centre $55,000.
  • Jerralang North Community Hall Reinstatement $45,0000 contribution (Total cost $350 000)
  • Labertouche Community Centre $20,0000
  • Fodder Provision $100,000
  • Small Projects $40,0000
  • Fencing reconstruction $50,0000
  • Healseville Rotary Club relief to Kinglake-Marysville $20,0000
  • Air Fare assistance for Tasman Peninsula Holiday Break $3000
  • Calligni Community Centre $25,0000
  • Little Athletics Equipment $2000
  • Relocation of family to Pipers Brook $30,000
  • Youth Space in Kinglake $125,000

Rotary builds “Youth Space in Kinglake”

Rotary often sees its role in catastrophes to come in after the initial emergency response and address key community needs that may have been overlooked by government and relief organisations. Kinglake lost most of its community infrastructure in the devastating bushfires.

After extensive consultation and negotiation between the local community and Rota

youth space

RI President Ray Kliningsmith (second from left) opens the Kinglake “Youth Space”, watched by DG Alan Anderson, PDG Michael Perkins and Brad Quillam, Charter President of RC Kinglake Ranges

ry’s Victorian and Tasmanian Bushfire Recovery Committee, a meeting and activities centre for the youth of the Kinglake areas was agreed upon as an important need for the Kinglake community.

The total cost of the project was $350,000, split between District 9830 Tasmania and two Victorian Districts. RI President Ray Kliningsmith journeyed to Kinglake to open the “Youth Space”.



Fencing Programme

A total of almost 200 Tasmanians were each able to devote a week of time to assist those impacted by the Churchill fire.  Tasmanian teams headed into the hills  of Traralgon South to be part of a 500 km. fencing programme spreading over a 9 month

This Rotary /Timber Communities Australia work team project has seen probably one of the largest combined relief efforts ever dispatched from Tasmania.

So successful was this programme that we were able to introduce a non fencing project with the assistance of the Traralgon Rotary Club. This enabled many not experienced in farm fencing to be involved with significant building projects & to experience the rewards of being part of such a major recovery programme.

We want to extend our thanks to all that made a contribution to such an incredible effort. Special thanks to our major sponsors – Gaffneys who loaned us a tractor for 9 months with Robert Stokes post driver; T.T. Line who transported all work party members & vehicles; Toll Shipping for transporting machinery; Meander TCA for providing a fencing tool kit, Gunns for assisting with treated posts & timber and the Cowwarr Cricket Club Hotel for accommodating and feeding many of the teams. These sponsors made it all possible!fencing

Without the cooperation of Rotary District 9830, Tasmania; Timber Communities Australia, (Tas); and The Rotary Clubs of Hazelwood, Traralgon & Traralgon Central this could not have happened. An outstanding partnership that delivered.

But far exceeding the physical contribution and number of km. of fencing and sheds built has been the moral support that the Tasmanians have provided. Examples of that have been widespread. Let’s also not forget the impact of the Rocky Cape tulips, the 1000s of coat hangers, rhododendrons and loads of Tassie vegetables that headed across Bass Strait with the teams. Add to this, the Tasmanian accommodation organised & donated for fire effected families and the Art from the Heart Tasman Rotary Club initiative. The Blue Gum Quilters from Bruny Island and all of their quilts. Hoo Hoo put us on the City Link Toll way.  And many, many, many more.

Peter Olorenshaw (Ollie) Police/Community Liason officer best sums up the Tasmanian volunteers ” Their presence brings smiles of joy from tears of desperation in the daunting task of rebuilding infrastructure. We are just so grateful for their continued support and your commitment has been priceless. Our farmers & residents will remember your people and they will be forever in our hearts” .

Barry Chipman & Ian Chalk.   (Timber Communities & Rotary work party coordinators.)

RT 8 Oct 2017