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Allan Latta interviewed by Mary Hutchison in the Canberra bushfires 2003 oral history project [sound recording]
Bib ID 3122178
Format AudioAudio [sound recording]
Latta, Allan, 1952-, Interviewee
Access Conditions Access open for research and personal copies; written permission required for public use during the lifetime of the interviewee. 
Description 2004 
3 digital audio tapes (ca. 195 min.) 

Canberra bushfires 2003 oral history project.


Allan Latta and family moved to Canberra from Tuross Head in 2002. He talks about renting a house on Eucumbene Drive, Duffy; the local community; his volunteer work at the War Memorial; his experience as a volunteer fire fighter for 22 years at Tuross; the days leading up to the fire; the family's fire experience and escape from the suburb; his offer to police to help with door knocks and later with road block; his wife's and daughter's movements; state of mind during night, the difficulties of making contact with family; the confusion people were in; lack of fire fighters; the division between volunteers, professionals, urban and bush fire fighters; the McLeod Inquiry; accommodation following the fire; the decision to buy a house in South Canberra (Feb); the long term effects of the fire, the stress and trauma; practicalities post fire, contact with Recovery Centre; insurance issues; support given for rebuilding, replanting gardens, quilts, organised barbecues; no leave available to either him or his wife; returning to the house, spending a week sifting through rubble, finding treasures; contact with reporters asking investigative questions.

Latta discusses the strengthening of ties with friends and neighbours since the fire; post fire community organisations and activities; contact with Phoenix Association; his involvement in book 'Our Story' (Chapman residents association); his contribution to CMAG exhibition 'The Day the Sky turned Black'; the Coronial Inquiry; the McLeod Inquiry; Val Jeffries; Emergency Services; John Stanhope; the appointment of new emergency Services commissioner; the importance of training volunteers through regular backburning; the Recovery Centre; anniversary activities at Stage 88; the Memorial; his own injuries; support from church and counsellors; the ways in which family members are managing their emotions; the value for him of staying behind and helping on the day of the fire; impact on relationships; Canberra community being supportive, the help from around Australia; the impact on fire fighters; the government needing to reassess control centres and manage the bush capital better; the main challenge has been keeping family together; his aims re employment and looking to the future; the importance of doing interview for the future.


The Latta family were renting a house in Eucumbene Drive at the time of the 2003 Canberra bushfires. The house and their possessions were lost to the fire on Saturday 18th, January. They eventually bought and settled in a house in South Canberra. Allan Latta has 22 years experience as a volunteer firefighter.


This project is being conducted in association with Canberra Museum and Art Gallery.

Recorded on June 29 & July 20, 2004 at Canberra, A.C.T.

Digital master available National Library of Australia;

Index/Finding Aid Note Timed summary (9 p.) 
Subjects Latta, Allan, 1952- -- Interviews.  |  Forest fires -- Australian Capital Territory -- Anecdotes.  |  Natural disasters -- Australian Capital Territory.
Other authors/contributors Hutchison, Mary, Interviewer  |  Canberra Museum and Art Gallery

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