AUSTRALIA’S Governor-General David Hurley and his wife Linda revisited Binna Burra on Tuesday 25 May 2021, having made the trip in October 2019 following the bushfire devastation of the historic lodge, pioneer cabins and other parts of the Binna Burra Cultural Landscape.
The Governor-General and Her Excellency visited the Bushfire Gallery within the Binna Burra Dome at Mt. Roberts, on the site of the former lodge. They also met with the team from Griffith University in the Bushfire Pavillion which has been part of the research project capturing local community memories about the 2019 bushfires.
The Governor-General then led the unveiling of the Local Heroes sculpture – a three panel tribute, acknowledging Australian resilience and spirit. The sculpture is located at the front of the Binna Burra Tea House.
The first panel represents Heroes of the Air, the second panel Heroes of the Fire Emergency Services and the third panel Heroes of the civilian population in assisting the wildlife and acknowledging the wildlife that perished.
The sculpture was created by, Ian Haggerty, and was originally used as a fund-raising activity for the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital full proceeds
Ian said he had tried to encompass all of the important aspects of the disaster in his sculpture, comprised of three panels and complete with light and sound.
“The ‘koala boy’ panel represents the community members who went out after the fires to help injured wildlife, one represents the firefighters who fought the blaze and the helicopter aerial bombing represents those who came from interstate to help.”
Also present at the informal unveiling was Scenic Rim Mayor Greg Christensen and his wife Denise, Mark Ayers and Suzanne Noakes from the Beechmont Rural Fire Service and Councillors Virginia West, Jeff McConnell and Michael Enright.
Mayor Christensen said the visit was a heart-warming reminder of Their Excellencies’ genuine compassion and concern for their fellow Australians.
On 8 September 2019, at the beginning of what became known as the ‘Black Summer’ of bushfires across Australia, the historic, heritage listed Binna Burra Lodge and pioneer cabins were destroyed. One year later, the remaining facilities at Binna Burra were able to be reopened to provide services for visitors into the Lamington National Park.
Described as the worst single event for wildlife in Australia, and among the worst in the world, experts estimate that some three billion koalas, kangaroos and other animals were killed or displaced.
The Local Heroes sculpture will now to continue at Binna Burra as a fundraiser for the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital.
Some of the media coverage:
Channel 7 news
ABC Brisbane morning radio – starts at 1 hour 14 minutes 37 seconds up to 1 hour 21 minutes