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28 August 2003

The renewal and recovery of Canberra's land and people after the devastation of the January bushfires will be explored in a community forum at the National Museum of Australia this Sunday.

The Renewal After the Fires forum, held on the eve of Wattle Day, is being launched by Duffy primary school students, who will carry bouquets of wattle on board a special ferry across Lake Burley Griffin to the National Museum wharf.

'Wattle has long been linked with the strong Australian spirit,' National Museum Director Dawn Casey said. 'As we welcome this year's first wattle blooms, we also reflect on the strength and resilience of Canberrans and their landscape.'

The free forum will be chaired by Emma Renwick from ABC Canberra, who produced an ABC TV series, After the Fires, documenting the lives of four Canberra families who lost their homes.

The other panellists are:

  • Sandy Hollway, ACT Bushfire Recovery Taskforce Chairman, will give an update on the huge task of rebuilding fire affected areas.
  • Brett McNamara, the ACT Parks and Conservation Service ranger, who lost his family home at the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve while fighting fires, will outline native regeneration in the bush.
  • Bob Davidson, whose family vowed to stage their traditional Christmas light show this December, will give an update on the rebuilding of their Rivett home.
  • Jack Fahy, Wattle Day Association President, will outline the history of Wattle Day and the plant's significance as a symbol of renewal.

The forum is being held in the National Museum Studio from 3-4.30pm this Sunday, 31 August. The special Wattle Day ferry and accompanying flotilla will arrive at the National Museum jetty at 2.55pm.

Media are welcome to attend.

For more information please contact Public Affairs Director Martin Portus on 02 6208 5351, 0409 916 481 or email

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