"He who laughs, lasts!"
I've often mentioned a small town called Marysville which was devastated in the Black Saturday bushfires on February 7th 2009. The raging fires took 39 lives and destroyed 536 homes and businesses, including many large guesthouses that had operated for decades. The rebuilding of the town and its businesses has been slow but inspiring. Here are some photographs to show you what the town was like - then and now. Where I live now is an hour from Marysville and during that summer we also lived nervously, waiting for the fires to head our way. I will never forget the morning after Black Saturday. It was 6.30 am as I sat in my study with tears in my eyes as I watched an aerial view from a helicopter of the destruction of one of the most pristine towns in Australia. A week previously, I had been the official photographer for a friend who married a Japanese model in the old Anglican church in Marysville. That day was 48 degrees. The old church was sadly decimated in the fires.
I lived in Marysville for ten years and was highly involved in the community, but I still have a close association with many who have battled enormous odds to rebuild their homes and lives since 2009. One of the residents is an extraordinary artist - Bruno Torfs. Bruno, originally from Belgium, settled in Marysville with his beautiful family and created a gallery like no other. I visited it many times with guests from all over the world. He created the most amazing creatures and people and spread them around his treefern-clad garden, surrounded by tall mountain ash trees. His outdoor gallery backed onto a mountain stream. It was enchanting. Something amazing appeared every time you turned a corner.
Soon I will feature my biggest connection with Bruno. I won a contest to name one of his statues that proudly sits in our town of Eildon, naming it 'The Earl of Eildon'.
Marysville before Black Saturday:
Marysville after Black Saturday:
* Bruno's gallery before the fires:
* Bruno's gallery before and after the fires:
WHAT MAGNIFICENT WORK!
* Bruno's gallery has now been rebuilt. Watch the opening ceremony:
* VIDEO AND SONG BY GREG CHAMPION - "THIS WAS MY TOWN":
You have to admire the human spirit, eh?
Love ya work, Bruno ... love ya work, Marysville - CT