Kinglake-350 – Adrian Hyland (Text Publishing)
On 7 February 2009 Roger Wood was the police officer in charge of Kinglake, at the epicentre of the worst bushfire disaster in Australia’s history, Black Saturday. As the firestorm engulfed the community, he risked his life to try and save people.
Kinglake-350 is a masterpiece of writing about family, community, country life and what happens when a day of ultimate terror arrives. Adrian Hyland takes a dramatic and compelling sequence of events on that day and weaves them into a picture of universal significance and deep fascination.
Adrian Hyland is the award-winning author of Diamond Dove and Gunshot Road. He lives in St Andrews, north-east of Melbourne, and teaches at LaTrobe University.
As Adrian Hyland notes in this powerful work, one of Justice Leonard Stretton’s observations from the 1939 Black Friday Royal Commission was: ‘They had not lived long enough’. This account of Victoria’s horror firestorm of 70 years on is a valuable contribution to an understanding of homeland. Kinglake-350 succeeds at many levels. It gathers in the personal and poignant, telling the human stories so powerfully you feel the heat of the advancing firestorm. Beyond the portrait of the physical and human landscape is a study of the psychology of mass disaster and the sometimes intimate, sometimes oppressive manoeuvrings of small town life. Hyland writes with vivid economy, sometimes bringing characters to life in a single sentence. This story, wonderfully told, is also a valuable resource for all who wonder ‘what would I do?’