In the aftermath of the events of 18 January 2003, particularly after the scale of the disaster became apparent, there was the usual media frenzy of blame and 'finger pointing' and in most cases the efforts of the bushfire fighters were largely ignored - and to a large degree they felt isolated. "What You Wouldn't Believe", however, gave the opportunity for ACT bushfire fighters and Emergency Service volunteers to put their side of the story very graphically.
It also aimed to address a number of significant issues and concerns amongst members, including what was being portrayed in the media and the growing sense that the efforts of members in the bushfire campaign were being forgotten in a rapidly developing political environment of inquiries and public recriminations over the severity of the losses sustained, particularly on the urban edge.
The book gives a first-hand and chronological perspective of the January 2003 bushfires. "What You Wouldn't Believe" is both an enduring record of the whole campaign and a valued form of recognition for all those bushfire fighters and volunteers from the S.E.S. who were involved. It gives credibility to what was truly an incredible experience and graphically illustrates that people will stand up, side by side, against seemingly impossible odds to fight for what they believe in, and value.
For those who felt some sense of failure, "What You Wouldn't Believe" provides a sense of perspective - that they had done the best job they could under extraordinary circumstances. Whilst it doesn't provide all the answers, it promotes a sense of closure and healing.
Whilst the primary purpose of the book was to acknowledge the efforts of bushfire fighters, Emergency Service and ADF personnel involved, it is acknowledged the public need to understand and to come to terms with the tragic events of January 2003. To this end it was agreed that an extract of "What You Wouldn't Believe" should be put on the World Wide Web.
Last updated 4 November 2014