There was strength in vulnerability as locals gathered in Beaudesert recently to share their own stories of regeneration after the unforgettable bushfires of 2019-20.
The tight knit communities of Beechmont and Lower Beechmont revealed their hard cover publication, “Regeneration – Creative Bushfire Recovery Project”, at a book launch which also included a panel discussion, readings from the book and a documentary premiere.
The 250-page book, project managed by local Jessica Brown of The Little Pocket Association, is filled to the brim with community creativity, art, interviews and reflections.
At the 21 May launch at The Centre in Beaudesert, guests from the local Beechmont Rural Fire Service, QCWA Beechmountain, those in the community most affected by the bushfires and those who supported them gathered to share stories.
Julie Ayers, Lou Rankin and Marg Haebich shared readings from the book, filling the room with their moving reflections about the tireless work of their local fire brigade, the deeply affected community and the experience of Lower Beechmont.
Aunty Levina Page and Aunty Ruby Sims were among elders acknowledged within the pages of the book for their cultural consultation on the project, and Aunty Gerry Page opened the launch with a Welcome to Country.
Documentary maker Scott Crisman shared his reflections about the project.
“The project isn’t about the fire – it’s about what happened after and the choice we make to heal,” he said.
Local Councillor Virginia West, who was invited by the community to write the foreword to the book, reflected on the community’s regeneration.
“Revisiting these memories is painful but presents an opportunity to come together and share the heartache, knowing we are not alone,” she wrote.
“Even in the darkest of times our community rose from the ashes, emerged from the rubble and showed endless determination to carry on. We have rebuilt our homes and our lives, and the blackened bushland and hills are now lush and green with new growth. A fresh spirit has enveloped our community.”
The book is available for purchase by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org