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Peter Harris interviewed by Mary Hutchison in the Canberra Bushfires 2003 oral history project [sound recording]
Bib ID 3546609
Format AudioAudio [sound recording]
Harris, Peter, Interviewee
Access Conditions Written permission is required for research use, personal copies and public use during the lifetime of the interviewee. 
Description 2005 
4 digital audio tapes. 

Canberra Bushfires 2003 oral history project.


Peter Harris speaks about being a resident in Canberra since 1963; Mt Taylor Estate; the community and changes over the years; the impact of new building since the fire on existing houses; Mt Taylor Estate Residents Association; the things the house contained; his long term involvement with Scouts and local church; lack of specific knowledge about dealing with fire; insurance issues; looking for valuables and identification; awareness of fires in week before; preparations; list of items missed; decision to leave; the wind; the house next door exploding; looking for neighbour whose house was burning; impact of fire on trees; putting spot fires out with hose; house implodes; the shock; the children's concerns and support; a sense of ongoing danger from fire; poor recollection of people and events during day; exhaustion; needing to be strong; the scene after the main fire; going to hotel in Civic with cat and dog; practicalities after the fire; returning the following day in borrowed clothes; daily routine at the time; moving to rented house; accepting financial support; Recovery Centre; Salvation Army; involvement in Community Fire Unit; the first anniversary of the fire.

Harris talks about his personal journey and emotional stages since the fire; the critical decision to buy or rebuild; realisation of role of possessions in identity; reference to Tsunami victims; support from Church; rebuilding; determination to look forward to new life experiences; being ill prepared; the temptation to walk back into the house before it burned; missing the comfort of a place that has been home for many years; loss of photographs; sadness of starting all over again; media coverage; telling his own story in newspaper articles and through sermons at church; post fire community activities; destruction of Scouts' Cottermouth campsite; focus on developing resilience in new paid work with Scouts; memorial; Coronial Inquiry; helping people move on; government caught unprepared; the Recovery Task Force being exceptional; value of access to counselling; observations of impact of fire on other people; his own experiences; the fire as an important process; the impact of article for 'The Age' written from perspective of son Paul; from shock to reward and new opportunities.


Recorded on July 16, 2005 and July 23, 2005 at Kambah, A.C.T

Digital master available National Library of Australia;

Index/Finding Aid Note Detailed summary (8 p.) 
Subjects Harris, Peter -- 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 5105/19
    Copy: Recording
    Special Collections Reading Room
    ORAL TRC 5105/19 (summary)
    Copy: Summary
    Special Collections Reading Room

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