It is hard to conceive of the fact that it has been two years since those terrible days and weeks of the Black Summer Bushfires that tore through the Upper Macleay and shrouded our entire shire in smoke and fear.
It is still very hard to put into words the thoughts and feelings that those memories evoke, and we are still seeing so much impact of those fires in our community - both good and bad.
The physical impacts are still there to see in so many locations. The individual and community impacts aren't necessarily as clear to see with our eyes but they are still very much a part of our lives. Yet, while those fires were tragic, and the devastation deep and long-lasting, I have also never seen anything like the immediate and ongoing response from our amazing community.
Our Shire demonstrated in that moment and the time since then that there is so much more that unites us than divides us, and that together we can achieve amazing things.
This week we are commemorate the second anniversary of the most serious impact of those bushfires with a small program of events intended to respectfully mark this important time for our community. We have also launched our Get Ready campaign to help the community prepare for any further disasters should they come.
A key event will be the premiere screening of the Remembering Macleay's Black Summer and Beyond documentary series at Majestic Cinema in Kempsey.
Funded by the NSW Bushfire Community Resilience and Recovery Fund, these documentaries feature Macleay residents sharing their account of the events of two years ago and the months and years that followed.
These stories are chilling and heart-warming in equal measure and it is an incredibly powerful series that will then be shared with the community through free screenings in the weeks to come.
The event will also mark the official launch of the Black Summer & Beyond Commemorative Book. This extraordinary book combines all of the powerful images from the award-winning Black Summer and Beyond exhibition which Council launched for the First Anniversary.
It is a difficult time, but a time where we should all come together. I hope to see you there.
Head to ksc.pub/recovery for details about the events and our week of remembrance.
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