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
Turning Page Bookshop, Springwood
Commonwealth Bank branch Springwood
Wentworth Falls Newsagency
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