Bunyip Complex bushfire recovery

This page has the most recent information and updates for people affected by the Bunyip Complex Fires of March 2019.

Business, farm and land recovery  

Contact the Recovery Team by emailing recovery@cardinia.vic.gov.au or calling 1300 787 624

Please see our final newsletter for information on local services and messages from those involved in bushfire recovery.

Read the final newsletter here

Cardinia Shire Council has commissioned the University of Melbourne’s Department of Social Work to undertake an independent evaluation of recovery following the Bunyip Complex Fires. The purpose of this review will be to help Cardinia Shire Council understand what worked well and areas that we might be able to focus on improving in future emergencies.

Residents, organizations and volunteers were invited to participate in the review in October 2022 through focus group discussions and 1:1 interviews.

The review is expected to be completed in December 2022 and the final report with recommendations will be made available on our website in early 2023. 

As part of our long-term recovery program Council has expanded our existing Youth and Family Outreach program with Taskforce Community Agency to provide additional support in areas affected by natural disasters.

The program provides young people and their families who have been impacted by the Bunyip Complex Fire or the Storms in 2021 access to information, support, referral to specialist support and case management.

The Youth and Family Outreach program will also deliver additional youth events to support young people to stay connected and engaged. The Youth and Family Outreach program will be available to middle of 2023.

For more information on the program or to access support please contact Taskforce on 9532 0811 or email enquiries@taskforce.org.au  

As part of our recent ‘Emerging from Fire’ exhibition, we sat down with Garfield North and Tonimbuk community members as they reflected on their experiences of the 2019 Bunyip Complex bushfires. 

From these conversations, three short documentaries were produced. They feature moving personal stories of loss, survival and –above all – strength, recovery and resilience. 

Thank you to Arlene, Katie, Sue and David for their insights and the courage it took to share their stories.  

Please be aware that these videos contain images, footage and details about the 2019 Bunyip Complex Fires that may be distressing for some viewers.  

Video 1 featuring Arlene Joachim

Arlene Joachim - Emerging from Fire from Cardinia Cultural Centre on Vimeo.

Video 2 featuring Sue and David McMahon

Sue and David McMahon - Emerging from Fire from Cardinia Cultural Centre on Vimeo.

Video 3 featuring Katie Turnbull

Katie Turnbull - Emerging from Fire from Cardinia Cultural Centre on Vimeo.

The Creative Recovery program saw local artists Gülsen Özer, Janine Good and Sue Jarvis facilitate artistic workshops with the bushfire-affected community, which has led to the permanent installation of 2 artworks and a sound piece.

This two-year program in partnership with Creative Recovery Network, funded by the Victorian Government provided workshops and a space for community members to come together and recover through art and music. The final artworks recognize and celebrate the strength of the community in the face of adversity.

Meeting Place’ by Janine Good and Sue Jarvis

The final artworks, consist of the artists’ designs laser cut into corten steel by local engineer John from Jonco Engineering:

  • 'Meeting Place for Reflection', Cannibal Creek Reserve, Garfield North. Corten Steel panel artworks by Janine Good.
  • 'Meeting Place – Outdoor Room with a View', Tonimbuk Hall, Tonimbuk. Corten Steel panel artworks by Sue Jarvis

‘Resounding’ by Gulsen Ozer

This sound piece includes soundscapes and music created with and for the community. Listeners are taken on a ‘sound journey’, capturing the spirit and resilience of the community in their recovery. 

Listen to sound piece here

Community Recovery Committee

Made up of elected members of the community, this committee plays important role in identifying community needs and priorities and communicating these to Council and the Victorian Government. The committee will continue to stay intact until their Indigenous Cultural Burn project is completed in 2024. Once this project is completed, they will review their status.

To get in touch with the committee please contact the committee on 0408 563 753 or email bunyipfirescrc@gmail.com or tonyfitzgerald2020@outlook.com

Tonimbuk Hall 

Tonimbuk Hall Committee has received recovery support for activation and upgrades so that it can continue to function as an important community space. Tonimbuk Hall has been upgraded with a new kitchen and outdoor area with a pizza oven.

More info: To find out what events and programs are running or to hire out the space please contact Garry Mackenzie on 0490 159 859 or tonimbukhall@gmail.com or go the Tonimbuk Hall Facebook page

Moy Yan Neighborhood House 

Moy Yan Neighborhood House is a non-for-profit community organization who will continue to deliver a range of programs and events for the bushfire-affected community. 

More info: Call 0481 895 509 or email info@bdch.com.au  

The SES have helped with chain sawing related to: 

  • uprooted trees with branches with foliage still attached 
  • trees hooked up in another tree 
  • trees felled and on the ground with branches attached 
  • logs on the ground in good condition. – No old or rotting trees. 

This program is designed to teach SES volunteers chainsaw courses while helping residents with property clean up. 

To register your interest: Email your address details, contact number and a photo of trees/logs to the SES at RON.FITCH@members.ses.vic.gov.au

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