The authors of the book, Jim Usher and Mac Gudgeon, live in St Andrews and were minutes away from becoming victims of the fires themselves.
Over a 10-month period they interviewed 80 survivors and 65 firefighters to compile the 276 pages of compelling stories and photographs, in the process becoming a listening post for the trauma of locals, many of whom have still not recovered. Initial printing of
Footsteps in the Ash was funded by the Hurstbridge and Diamond Creek branches of the Bendigo Community Bank.
The authors gave of their services free of charge so that entire proceeds from the $25 sale price of 5000 books are shared by the St Andrews and Arthurs Creek/Strathewen brigades and other brigades that took part in the firefight at Strathewen and St Andrews on that day. The brigades will receive about $125,000 from sales.
The book was launched on Saturday 6 February at Bridges Restaurant in Hurstbridge. Dignitaries that helped the authors launch the book included Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard; Premier of Victoria John Brumby; Captain Arthurs Creek/Strathewen RFB David McGahy; and Captain St Andrews RFB Helen Kenney.
Information on how to purchase a copy of the book is available at the website: http://www.footstepsintheash.com/