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Mark O'Neill interviewed by Mary Hutchison in the Canberra Bushfires 2003 oral history project [sound recording]
Bib ID 3527363
Format AudioAudio [sound recording]
Author
O'Neill, Mark, 1952-, Interviewee
 
Access Conditions Access open for research and personal copies, written permission is required for public use during the lifetime of the interviewee. 
Description 2005 
3 digital audio tapes (ca. 171 min.) 
Series

Canberra Bushfires 2003 oral history project.

Summary

Mark O'Neill speaks about his family background; the history and location of Mount Taylor Estate; his favourite places; community opposition to proposed development; his own work and community association experience; his early retirement as result of health issues; awareness of fire activity in days before; his bushfire experience as a younger man; his memory of grandfather using dynamite in backburning activity; lack of visibility; preparations at home; a sense that something would happen; hearing the roar of the fire at 4.00pm; fire crossing from Arawang to Mt Taylor in seconds; sheds burning in yard; hosing; explosions; neighbours putting out fires; the whole street being evacuated; returning to house in one piece, garage destroyed; how the experience forces awareness of human vulnerability; issues of impact of the fire; community members chasing out looters; the community getting back together after the fires; the devastation of the day; sense of threat continued during Saturday night; community roadblock to stop intruders; nerves on edge in immediate aftermath; items saved and items left behind.

O'Neill talks about community management; support from local businesses and clubs; impact of heat on doors in houses; the issue of fate of government houses; the role of Recovery Centre; the issue of opening yourself up to the generosity of other people; instances of greed in context of material support; fear and own experience of the fire; media coverage; the importance of getting people's stories out there; government management of forestry; Coronial Inquiry issues; personal lessons of the fire experience; process of developing ideas for firestorm story tree; first anniversary; impacts of the fire on community, individuals, volunteer firefighters and Emergency Services personnel; unexpected support responses; emotional difficulties; the huge impact of losing neighbours; the importance of being positive as a community; lessons for bushfire management and emergency Services; Mt Taylor Estate Community Fire Unit; living with changes as a fact of life; talking about the fire experience with others; managing successive bushfire seasons; distinction between firestorm and bushfire; impact of fire on children's sense of security; the value of community.

Full contents
  • Tells story about: Danny patrolling area with baseball hat
  • A man leaving his wife behind.
 
Notes

Recorded on May 11, 2005 and June 01, 2005 at Kambah, A.C.T.

Digital master available National Library of Australia;

Index/Finding Aid Note Detailed summary (8 p.) 
Subjects O'Neill, Mark, 1952- -- Interviews.  |  Forest fires -- Australian Capital Territory -- Anecdotes.  |  Natural disasters -- Australian Capital Territory.
Other authors/contributors Hutchison, Mary, Interviewer

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    Details Collect From
    ORAL TRC 5105/17
    Copy: Recording
    Special Collections Reading Room
    ORAL TRC 5105/17 (summary)
    Copy: Summary
    Special Collections Reading Room

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