Fire on the Plateau — A History of Fire and its Management in Stanley

In 2003 and 2009, the Stanley Plateau was subject to catastrophic bushfires. This project looks at the changing fire history of the Stanley Plateau from Aboriginal fire management through to European settlers and their responses to bushfire, right up to the aftermath of the 2009 fires.

Work on this project commenced in February 2019. The outcome will include text for a museum-style exhibition to be held at the Stanley Athenaeum, to be curated by Ali Rowe, as well as a substantial essay to be illustrated and published by the Stanley Athenaeum. The project is being partnered by Stanley Landcare.

There is a range of interesting historical themes to be examined when researching the impact of bushfire on the small community of Stanley. These themes include Aboriginal burning practices, the rise of catastrophic bushfires after European settlement, the settler response to bushfire, and the growth in, and professionalisation of, fire fighting in Victoria. This includes the role of community based fire-fighting organisations from the original Stanley Bushfire Brigade at the turn of the century to the advent of the Country Fire Authority after WWII; to the role played locally by the North Eastern Division of the Forests Commission Victoria in fire management and suppression, especially from the 1930s onwards. The project also hopes to capture personal stories and memories around bushfire survival and fire-fighting in Stanley.