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2023-12-22 2:05 pm
Community day event. Stalls are lined up inside of the Kernot Hall. People are sitting down on tables and eating, looking around and talking to each other

Reflecting on community resilience: 10 years after Hazelwood

March 21, 2024
March 18, 2024

In this blog, Senior customer service trainer Matilda Lappin reflects on the Community day commemorating the 10 year anniversary of the Hazelwood mine fire, held on February 17th in Morwell. Bank Australia was proud to support the event in partnership with Environment Victoria and Life after coal.

“As a customer service consultant at Bank Australia, I had the opportunity of volunteering at the recent community event commemorating the 10-year anniversary of the Hazelwood Mine fire, organised by Environment Victoria and Life after coal. Alongside my son Wally, we immersed ourselves in a day filled with reflection, hope, and community spirit,” Matilda said.

The event, held at the newly refurbished Kernot Hall, was a testament to the resilience of the Latrobe Valley community. From panel discussions to film screenings, interactive stalls to community art exhibitions, the day was a melting pot of emotions and experiences.

“One of the most profound aspects of the day was the opportunity to engage in tough conversations and acknowledge the hard feelings that linger from the devastating fire. It was a moment of collective healing as the community came together to share stories of adversity and resilience.

“Listening to real-life stories from fellow community members highlighted the strength and determination that has emerged in the aftermath of the disaster. From individuals facing health challenges to communities rallying together for mine rehabilitation, each narrative painted a picture of hope and strength.

Bank Australia team stand behind a stall. They are wearing pink vests. On the table sets a plate of fruit, flyers, and badges


“Amidst these discussions, we enjoyed a free lunch courtesy of the United Muslim Sisters of Latrobe Valley and Morwell Neighbourhood House, along with delicious sausages provided by the Lions Club Churchill. Sitting down with strangers turned friends, we reminisced about shared experiences, highlighting the power of connection in times of adversity.

“Volunteering alongside my son was a heart-warming experience. Wally enthusiastically participated in the free kids' activities, keeping him engaged and entertained throughout the day. As we bonded over our volunteer duties, I couldn't help but feel grateful for the opportunity to contribute to such a meaningful event alongside my son.

“One of the highlights of the day was interacting with the team from Bug Blitz. Bug Blitz is a not for profit initiative, integrating scientific, educational and creative opportunities to stimulate an active interest in biodiversity. Their enthusiasm for bugs and creepy crawlies was infectious, captivating a crowd of eager learners. Despite my apprehensions, I bravely allowed a huntsman to crawl on me, while Wally looked on with a mix of curiosity and trepidation.”

The Hazelwood Mine fire 10-year anniversary event was a poignant reminder of the resilience and strength inherent in the Latrobe Valley community. As we continue to reflect on the progress made and the challenges ahead, let us draw inspiration from the stories of courage and hope shared on this commemorative day.

And there’s more! Join us, Environment Victoria and Life after coal on March 26th at the Victorian Pride Centre for another exciting event. RSVP now!

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