Anniversary marks new beginning for Dunalley

DUNALLEY residents planted a birch tree outside the site of their new community hall yesterday, one year after devastating fires swamped their region.

It was an entirely different, and overcast day, to the one that they awoke to a year ago.

Resident Judy Young, who lost her home in the fires, said the day marked a new beginning.

"Over the years my husband and I have climbed many mountains, and I think that day has been the hardest one, but we are on top, and we are survivors," Mrs Young said.

"We are just grateful for those that helped us along the way, the government departments, council, and just the people, some who we didn't even know, who donated," she said.

"It was overwhelming really, but on reflection, it has been a very interesting journey and we have learnt a lot."

Mrs Young said she and husband Noel spent the day with family and friends in their new home, with many others popping in for a visit.

She said a breakfast was also held at the Dunalley Hotel.

"I think everyone woke up this morning and thought back to that day - it is not a day that anybody will forget," she said.

"We didn't relive horrible things, we just gave thanks that we were together and still here."

Mrs Young said the community was also moving forward.

"The next thing on the agenda is the community hall - that will be another chapter of history as well.

The first one was built in 1898, and that had been an integral part of the community for 115 years, so the community are looking forward to having that rebuilt."

Email ibird@examiner.com.au

Twitter @isabelbird

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