Page 3991 - Week 12 - Thursday, 20 October 2005

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about ACT Shelter. You have been granted permission to make a personal explanation, not an explanation on behalf of another organisation.

DR FOSKEY: My personal explanation is that my speech was derived from a statement written by a member of my staff and there was no input from any other source, though it was, of course, given to ACT Shelter as they gave us a copy of their analysis.


Motion (by Mr Hargreaves) proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

Bushfire memorial

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (5.52): I rise tonight to talk about the weekend of 9 October 2005. Although that weekend for me will still have some terrible memories due to issues we have discussed in the Assembly over the last few days, there was a happier occasion, and I would like to talk about that tonight.

I was invited to the unveiling of the Mount Taylor story tree on Sunday, 9 October. We all remember the devastation of the 2003 bushfires; it will remain in our minds for many years to come. But the residents of the Mount Taylor Estate decided to construct a memorial to the bushfires. The residents of the Mount Taylor Estate were the worst affected in the suburb of Kambah: 12 houses were completely destroyed by the fires. In the wake of such blistering crisis, the residents formed the Mount Taylor Estate Residents Association. They, in particular Mr Mark O’Neil, decided to build a memorial to commemorate the event and assist with the healing process.

The lone tree standing in the middle of the devastation was chosen as the focal point for the memorial. Over a year after the decision to build a memorial, and after some seven months of carving the memorial, a smoking ceremony saw the unveiling of the story tree. The story tree is a remarkable memorial and is testimony to the courage and bonding of the residents of the Mount Taylor Estate. Arising from a mere suggestion, the story tree has become a major focal point for the community in its recovery from the firestorm that rocked the ACT.

The carving was created by well-known woodcarver Bryan Carrick and his pride of volunteers and is on target to be one of the biggest works of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. The masterpiece was also well supported by the ACT government, with a grant from artsACT of $14,000, as well as by many supporters who, as Bryan acknowledged, brought him many cups of hot coffee during those cold days. It was wonderful to see their lives depicted so realistically on the story tree.

This evocative carving is breathtaking, and during the unveiling I had a great chance to view it in all its glory. The bright colours, intricate carvings and detailed three-dimensional scenery are reminders of just how devastating the fires were. The carvings depict the various evolutionary stages that the tree has stood by, from the early indigenous inhabitants through to farming and suburban development and, of course, the

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