Mirboo North: A Resilient Community

26 February, 2024

Without warning a horrific storm ran through the town of Mirboo North. Imagine a giant wall of steel being pushed through the bush and flattening everything in sight, tearing whole palm trees out of the ground and throwing them onto the next property. When I drove into Mirboo North I couldn't believe the damage. I'd been told about it, but I couldn't believe it. Entire forests had been flattened. They closed the pool. A young boy ran off home through the forest. The whole forest was flattened, but he was unhurt. This was miracle No. 1. Sadly, one farmer on a quad bike lost his life to flying debris. If you saw the town you'd have to say that there should have been 40, 50 or 60 people killed.

The town has responded magnificently. They have put together a volunteer coordination area at the RSL, which is being beautifully run. It's matching those offering help with those who need help. They're doing that on a voluntary basis, using paper, and it's working very well. The shire responded magnificently. I've got to say that the South Gippsland shire responded magnificently to the drama that unfolded, because it was a war zone—a war zone.

This was unprecedented weather that we had never experienced before. It was a conflagration of two storms, hitting one spot at one time, flying across the ridge and then down through the gullies. It went on for miles and miles. Hopefully everyone has their power back on now, but it took days and days to get that power back on. Luckily some people had realised their vulnerability and were prepared. They had candles. They had water. Some of them had cans of beer—very important.

To give you a sense of the extent of it, one fellow, Grant, took two days to cut his way out of the driveway of his property. It was only 30 metres long, and it took two days for him to cut his way out before he was able to get out of his property. There was no communication, because when the power went down the communication went down, so nobody could talk to anybody else at all. Nobody could say, 'I need help,' until help came to them. Trees had come down straight through the middle of houses, and no-one was killed. Two 80-year-olds had their house blown away from around them, and their roof fell in, and neither of them was hurt. Miracle after miracle after miracle—praise the Lord for the miracles.

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Russell Broadbent MP
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