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Nymboida – one year on

Lynne Mowbray

This weekend will mark the first anniversary of the horrific bushfire which ravaged the village of Nymboida and surrounding areas, on 8 November 2019.

In the Clarence Valley, 169 homes were lost – 90 of those were lost in Nymboida and surrounding areas.

This Saturday, the Nymboida community will come together at the Nymboida Camping and Canoeing Centre, to mark the first anniversary.

In the aftermath of the fire, the Canoe Centre became the backbone of the community, becoming the Bush Fire Recovery Hub.

Chief Co-ordinator of the Recovery Hub, Gray Stride said that the community have decided to put an anniversary event on.

“It’s an anniversary/Memorial Day,” Gray said.

“It’s going to be a mixed day with a lot of people there. There’s going to be music and they’re putting on a beautiful big feed for the community,” he said.

Gray said that those who are planning to attend have to register through Eventbrite (event organisers), due to COVID.

He said that the people who came up with the idea to mark the anniversary, were able to obtain a grant through council to pay a professional organiser to put the event on, so that the community didn’t have the added stress and could enjoy the day.

“This event is for Nymboidians; it’s not about Nymboida working their butt off for the day to do something for themselves,” he said.

“We know most of the caterers and entertainment through the running of the Camp Oven Festival and they want to help out and do something for us.

“It’s going to be a lovely day.

“There will be some special memorial events happening during the day and there will be a photographic exhibition with photos donated from the community, which will be displayed in the big shed.

“The day will kick off around midday and go through until about 10pm.

“Some people in the community are going to struggle emotionally and they’re not going to be able to make it.  

“Some people are going to take several years to come to terms with things; it’s still very raw and very powerful to a lot of people and some people are going to use it as a healing process.

“There’s going to be a lot of professionals there.

“This is being done with a lot of support and backing from people from the mental health side – so there has been a lot of consideration put into this.

“A lot of the professionals that are going to be here have been with us since the beginning; they know this community and they know what we went through.

“Almost everyone you talk to on the day, has been through it (the fire) as well, so it will be easy to talk to someone that has been through the experience with you.

“It will be mainly focused on a healing event.

“I think it’s going to be a very important day for everybody that attends and hopefully we will put together another one and this will be something that Nymboida has to remember, because it’s now part of our history,” he said.

One year on from the catastrophic bushfires that ravaged Nymboida, the community will come together this Saturday to mark the anniversary, with what is hoped to be a special day of healing. Image: Lynne Mowbray.