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Black Saturday and The Recovery Continues

One Family's Struggle to Put Their Lives Back Together


A cold and foggy start to the morning in Kinglake

Over the weekend of the 29th and 30th of June, volunteer members from Chelsea SES along with many other units, returned to Kinglake to assist local residents in the latest chapter of the Chaps and Chainsaws initiative. On a cold and foggy morning, the troops arrived ready to do whatever was needed to take another step in trying to regain some sort of order to the lives of those still affected by the ravages of Black Saturday. But this time we felt that it would be interesting to let you hear the story from those whose lives  were changed so dramatically on that terrible day.


February 7, 2009, the day  the World watched Victoria burn

This is the story of Ian Holman and his family who live in Kinglake, one of the worst affected areas on Black Saturday. 


 Even the tallest of giants fell victim to the flames


The Ute

On Black Saturday, Ian and his family lost 4 homes to the fires and 4 years on they are still in the rebuilding phase. Now Ian and his family have this message about  Chaps and Chainsaws and the men and women of the SES who give their time to be there and assure these good people that they are not forgotten. These pictures show the start of the long journey that still goes on for Ian's Son Sean and his partner Minna as they try to rebuild their lives.


The family home


The property


The devastation

As a father of four children, three of them who have lost their houses on Black Saturday, I would like to thank all of those people who in their wisdom, have had the foresight to recognise the importance of this program, and the ongoing moral boost that it generates. There remains many people struggling, they are fighters and will continue to regain their new normal lives and homes. It is so beneficial when an organisation like the SES volunteers step in to help them. They don’t feel forgotten. It gives them new friendships, and cements together two communities; one; the Resident Community, and the other, the SES Community.  When communities can work together like this, as a whole, they become more resilient. Respect is formed and the Residents become more informed about what the SES offers and hopefully become more responsible for them in an event.


Another day and still more logs to cut up


The SES volunteers getting the job done


A big job ahead means a big effort is needed by everyone


Turning trees into firewood


Go Deb

Sean and Minna are strugglers, with a new baby. They didn't expect, or even ask for this help over the last weekend. I asked, as I know many of these programs have not reached some people because of one reason or another. Some municipalities are more informative than others, it seems. Sean and Minna are working four different jobs between them, when possible, to make ends meet. They have, like so many others, have had to fight the insurance companies and the banks to get where they are today.
So when the SES comes along and cuts up trees that will provide them with fire wood for the remainder of the winter, it is so much appreciated.


A little maintenance on the go


Time to rehydrate


Sometimes it's hard to see the wood for the trees


Best descriptionm ever for Chelsea Rescue 2 from Sean; a man-cave on wheels!

I would like to thank on their behalf the following people

Day 1

Liam Fraser
Debra De Boer
Hans Versluy
Brian Waugh
Damien Kemp
Ron Fitch

Day 2

Allan Crompton
Bruno Antolini
Robert Gowling
Ron Fitch


3 pof the remaining large trees rise up out of the fog above Kinglake

You are an amazing group of people, who take the time out from your families to help others, that remain in need. We thank you and keep up the great work. We have made some great new friends. Special thanks to Ron Fitch, you know why!

Thanks to John Chaplain and Chris Patton for understanding our needs, and keeping the Chaps and Chainsaws alive.


All cut up and ready to be moved and stored


On ya Robert! Keeping the chains sharpened was a full time job

This program is so important, as Black Saturday is not yet over for many people.

Yours Truly

Sean Holman
Minna Sarkinnan
Ian Holman


Time for a well earned cuppa

It has been a pleasure for all of us at Chelsea SES to have had the pleasure of getting to know Ian and his family over the past couple of years and we hope that this relationship will continue into the future.  This is the type of activity that proves the old saying right, that "Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something" and if we all do something we can achieve great things. Good luck to Ian and his family and we look forward to the barbie invitation once the work is complete!

*N.B. Special thanks to Ian Holman for the fantastic photographs.

Last Updated (Tuesday, 02 July 2013 21:28)