Following weeks of drought, and extreme heat, Victoria was a tinderbox waiting for the match to fall. The devastating bushfires that swept across Victoria on Feb 7th 2009, now famously known by all as Black Saturday, was the realisation of that nightmare.
Black Saturday remains the worst bushfire in Australia’s history. The statistics are heart rending. 173 lives lost, 5000 injured, 2,029 homes destroyed, countless animals died, 200,00 trout boiled in the water at the trout farm. Over 4,500 square kilometres of land burnt to the earth. Among the many homes and buildings, lost at Marysville, two were Bruno’s Garden, and the infrastructure at Steavensons Falls.
Located 4kms out of Marysville on the Steavenson River, they are one of the tallest falls in Australia.
The bushfires of Black Saturday, destroyed all of the man made infrastructure at the falls (picnic areas, toilet blocks, walks and paths etc), and decimated the surrounding forest. Parks Victoria has since rebuilt a new amenities blocks and added new paths and walking tracks. The bush has regenerated in the seven years since the fires. Evidence of the maelstrom is still evident though, with blackened tree trunks stark against the lush new green growth.
Marysville was almost razed to the ground, in the overnight firestorm that swept over it. Morning light showed only a few homes left standing. Gone was the Marysville Primary School, the Patisserie, the famous Cumberland Guest House and Bruno’s Garden. It was days before the residents of Marysville, were allowed back to the remains of their shattered town. Bruno found his garden a blackened, charcoal wasteland. His home, workshop, and years of work were gone.
With help and support of family, friends, and strangers from across the globe who had visited and loved the garden, they began the heartbreaking task of rebuilding. Seven years later, it is again a lush wonderland. A testament to the tenacity and fertile imagination of a skilled artisan.