By Raquel Mustillo
THE Keilira community and the Kingston District Council will rally together to host a thank you celebration to acknowledge the efforts of emergency services, community groups, organisations and individuals in the wake of the 2019/20 Black Summer fire.
Community members are encouraged to attend the free, cocktail style event on Saturday, May 15 to acknowledge the efforts of those who played a vital role in containing the Keilira bushfire, protecting properties and those who helped in the aftermath.
Kingston District Council chief executive officer Nat Traeger said the event’s name was derived from a ball of barbed wire collected by BlazeAid volunteers after the December 30 fire.
“We have a big ball of barbed wire that was rolled up by BlazeAid after dismantling damaged fences which is going to be the centrepiece of the night,” she said.
“The ball will be decorated with fairy lights and placed on hay bales as a symbol of BlazeAid and our appreciation of their efforts in the recovery.”
Ms Traeger said the event would be funded by donations received by community groups and individuals after the fire, which burnt more than 26,000ha of land, impacted 22 properties and destroyed three homes.
“As is the nature of the Keilira community, they didn’t want to divide the funding because people were impacted differently – someone lost a home, another person lost peripheral parts of their farm,” she said. “They decided they wanted to host an event where all the impacted property owners could invite guests for those who helped clean up, as well as a broader portion of the community including the people who dropped in to check in on people, people who donated money, biscuits and cakes.
“We had BlazeAid here for a couple of months and during that time, there were a lot of church groups, sporting clubs, council staff and individuals donating food to volunteers to help keep them fed while they went out to the farms.”
Ms Traeger said 200 tickets had already been reserved, but said the event was able to host up to 700 people.
“We would love to get that higher number and we would like anyone from the community to come along to give their support, show their appreciation or just come along and have a good time,” she said.
“Although people might think they haven’t helped, being there and giving support is a huge help in itself.” The event will be held on May 15 at 6.30pm at the Kingston Community School Gymnasium, 46 East Terrace, Kingston.
Cocktail food will be provided and the Baker Boys Band will provide entertainment.
Bar facilities will be available, with proceeds going back to community groups at the request of the Keilira community.
Visit eventbrite.com.au/e/the-barbed-wire-ball-tickets-150687232569 for more information or to reserve free tickets.