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Footsteps in the Ash book launch

Posted by Geoff Schmidt CFA Member
Sunday, 07 February 2010

Footsteps in the Ash is a record of the devastation of the St Andrews and Strathewen communities where 37 people died and 117 homes were lost in the Black Saturday bushfires of 7 February 2009.

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:

Last modified on Monday, 08 February 2010 07:17
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Robert Bury
written by Robert Bury, February 07, 2010
I went to the book Launch a guest of my wife Carole and the Doreen Mernda Bendigo Bank Committee

We purchased 4 books for family and friends

Carole and I started to read the books and have been unable to put them down

It was an excellent launch with some very important speakers the deputy Prime minister & The Premier no Less

But the stand out for me was the speech made by David McGahy Captain of the Arthurs Creek/Strathewen RFB,

Now there is a man I would go “Over the Top For”

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