Audio and video interview, comprising four video and two audio files, with Debbie Bradshaw and Doug McKinnon by Liza Dale-Hallett at Doug's home in Greensborough, on 31 May 2010. Debbie Bradshaw and her family lost their home in Strathewen on Black Saturday 2009, her father Doug McKinnon had just completed building the decking on their newly renovated home. This is the first part of a two part interview.

This is the first of two interviews with Debbie Bradshaw and Doug McKinnon, that forms part of the Victorian Bushfires Collection which includes a photograph taken by Doug McKinnon on Black Saturday.

Description of Content

The interview provides background to the Black Saturday bushfires including details of Doug's work history up to his retirement, his previous experience of bushfires, Debbie's move to Strathewen in 2005, raising three young children and her involvement at the local Strathewen Primary School. Debbie and Doug describe the prelude to Black Saturday, the near completion of their extensive renovations of Debbie's home, their experience on Black Saturday, their lucky escape (with Debbie's six year old daughter Lilly, and her brother Dave) in two cars to Kinglake Central football ground and school where they sheltered with nine others. They describe the ongoing trauma of being under direct fire attack during the evening and into the early hours of the Sunday, having to move from place to place as each shelter caught alight, the heat and smoke, the "thundering roar" of the fire and the distressing sounds of explosions, crashing cars, trees falling, and sirens. They talk about the worst day of their lives on the Sunday when they discovered the loss of many of their friends, and the destruction of their home and belongings. Debbie and Doug talk about the re-establishment of the Strathewen Primary School in temporary accommodation at Wattle Glen Primary School, the decision to move back to their Strathewen property in Easter 2009, and their many strange discoveries in sifting through the fragments from the ruins of their home.

Physical Description

Digital files


This interview offers a raw account of the terrible experiences of Black Saturday survivors, during and following the bushfire. It documents the community building role of the Strathewen Primary School. Debbie Bradshaw and Doug McKinnon describe the strange and challenging experience of discovering distorted fragments of their possessions on their return to Debbie's burnout home.

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