Ash Wednesday Bushfire Education Centre
- The Ash Wednesday Bushfire Education Centre (AWBEC) in Cockatoo is a place to remember those who lost their lives or were affected by the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires.
- The fires claimed the lives of 47 Victorians, including 27 people in Cardinia Shire.
- The memorial centre was built in 2011 on the site of the former kindergarten on McBride Street. The site has great significance to the local community as around 300 residents took shelter in the building during the fires.
- A ceremony to commemorate the anniversary of the Ash Wednesday Bushfires is being held on Sunday 12 February 2023 at the centre.
The Ash Wednesday Bushfire Education Centre pays tribute to the efforts of firefighters and other emergency services workers during the fires, and educates visitors on how to protect themselves against the threat of bushfires.
The memorial centre was built in 2011 on the site of the former kindergarten in McBride Street, Cockatoo. The roof of the former kindergarten was damaged during the fires and, as a result, was left unused for many years.
The site has great significance to the local community as around 300 residents took shelter in the building during the fires.
The centre has retained the kindergarten’s original concrete slab and 12-sided steel framework. It features memorial plaques, historical and bushfire education displays, artworks and a barbecue and shelter.
A reflective garden has also been planted and landscaped; featuring a Corymbia ficifolia tree (red flowering gum) planted by the late Princess of Wales and Prince of Wales during their visit to Cockatoo in March 1983.
The centre was funded by the Australian Government, Council and the Victorian Heritage Restoration Fund.
Working with the community
The site was transformed into a memorial centre in response to community groups who lobbied passionately in 2011 for the building to be repaired and restored for this purpose.
The Ash Wednesday Memorial Committee worked with Council throughout the consultation stages and worked tirelessly to plan and design the memorial.
Location and contact
The centre is located at 2 McBride Street in Cockatoo and is open from 11am to 3pm on Sundays.