June storm - Twelve months on

Published on 09 June 2022

Wombat domino trail path

Council acknowledges that this week marks twelve months since the storms that affected many people and properties across our Shire in June 2021.

Mayor, Cr Tim Drylie, said that this can be a very difficult time for members of our community.

“We encourage people to check in on friends, neighbours and family to see how they are going. If you wish to talk with one of our Storm Recovery team, I encourage you to call us on 4373 7373.”

“There has been an extraordinary amount of work undertaken since the storm, beginning with the enormous task of clearing fallen trees from roads,” said Cr Drylie.

Storm-thrown timber was processed locally and distributed within the Shire, including 7,000 tonnes of firewood distributed to the community via our three transfer stations and community groups (for fundraising or donating to vulnerable community members).

Much of the firewood came from twisted timber that was of no practical value beyond firewood, however, salvageable timber was transported to the processing site at Romsey in the Macedon Ranges and turned into fence posts, which have been returned to Hepburn Shire and distributed to farmers and rural storm-affected landholders. The rare pieces of the highest value timbers were sent to the Creswick Timber Training Centre for training purposes and milling. The mulch by-product was distributed locally for free and totalled around 25,000 cubic metres.

“The processing site was extremely busy and closed at the end of 2021. Habitat protection had been ensured and the site has been rehabilitated, with no sign of the frantic activity that had preceded. Council has worked closely with Bushfire Recovery Victoria to facilitate public and private property clean-up, and with partner agencies to address financial, psychological and practical recovery, including ongoing one-on-one support for some severely affected residents,” said Cr Drylie.

Towards the end of this winter, Council is working with the Creswick Timber Training Centre to offer free chainsaw classes in the hope that participants can learn new skills, and by joining a community group, utilise those skills within a supportive team. Participants can then clean up their own properties and assist others to do the same.

As a measure to encourage wildlife back into the forest, a successful habitat program has seen nest boxes and native trees distributed within the community.

Council continues its efforts to support the community through the extended recovery period and will be available at the Trentham Farmers Market on Saturday 18 June, where Coliban Ward councillor Cr Brian Hood and the Trentham Lions Club President Mr Tim Walsh will both address the community and reflect on the past twelve months, what has been achieved and what is ahead.

The Storm Recovery team will be launching their photography competition to encourage community members to submit photos and stories of their storm experiences. A commemorative book will be completed by the end of 2022, with residents encouraged to submit their stories, memories or reflections of the storm.

Councillors and community attended a free talk at Trentham in late 2021 by Australia’s leading trauma psychologist, Dr Rob Gordon. That talk is being held again on 23 June at 6pm at Lyonville Hall.

Registrations can be made via Council’s website at www.hepburn.vic.gov.au/storm-update/