Book celebrates bushfire recovery

Christine Nixon (centre) with the authors and contributors to As the Smoke Clears at the book's launch at Winmalee High School on August 5.

Christine Nixon (centre) with the authors and contributors to As the Smoke Clears at the book's launch at Winmalee High School on August 5.

One of the stunning photos of bushfire regrowth in the book As the Smoke Clears.

One of the stunning photos of bushfire regrowth in the book As the Smoke Clears.

A book celebrating community and hope for the future in the aftermath of the October 2013 Blue Mountains bushfires was launched at Winmalee High School on August 5.

As the Smoke Clears is a compilation of photographs taken following the three bushfires in the region - but none of them are of flames or fire trucks. Instead the subject of the book's images is the resilience of the Blue Mountains bush and people.

Former Victorian Police Commissioner Christine Nixon was special guest at the launch. A former Yellow Rock resident herself, Ms Nixon said while the impact of the fires will last a long time, it is useful to look at what people lost and how they are moving towards recovery "and that's the wonderful thing about this book".

The project was completed by Senior Constable Mary-Lou Keating of Blue Mountains Highway Patrol and other volunteers from the local community, including Jenny Bigelow and Susan Templeman.

"After the fires devastated large areas in the Blue Mountains, I was amazed by the community spirit that remained alive, with everyone wanting to immediately get started on restoring the area and rebuilding their lives," said Senior Constable Keating.

"This book represents not only the physical renewal of the bush and surrounding area, but the work of the community and hope.

Blue Mountains mayor Mark Greenhill said the book was not just about regrowth and rebuilding but "about us".

"What arose from those times was courage, strength and passion for our fellow human beings and I reckon those things are worth holding on to."

Former Governor-General Quentin Bryce wrote the forward for the book.

All funds raised from book sales will be donated to the Blue Mountains Mayoral Bushfire Relief Fund.

The book is available from:

Glenbrook Visitor Information Centre

Glenbrook News & Post

Foot of the Mountains, 11 Ross Street, Glenbrook

Todarellos, GWH, Faulconbridge

Blaxland Newsagency

Turning Page Bookshop, Springwood

Commonwealth Bank branch Springwood

Winmalee Newsagency

Hazelbrook Newsagency

Wentworth Falls Newsagency

Everglades, Leura

Trumps, Leura Mall

Megalong Bookshop, Leura Mall

Council office, Civic Place, Katoomba

Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, Katoomba

Echo Point Information Centre

Blue Mountains NPWS Heritage Centre, Blackheath

Gleebooks, Collier's Arcade, Blackheath

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