Black Saturday – Daniella

Black Saturday through

a child’s eyes

Words by Daniella

As a 10-year-old during the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, Daniella documented the experience in her diary.

Dear diary.

It has been a terrible last eight days.

On Saturday, last, it reached 45.8 degrees, the hottest day on record since the 1800s. I and my family stayed at our auntie’s air-conditioned house for the night, but Mum and Dad didn’t sleep over.

At around one-ish during the day, bushfires started. The whole sky was brown and grey, and the air was polluted with the smell of smoke. When I woke up after Vicky’s house, it rained for 10 seconds. I’m serious. Mum and Dad picked us up.

Meanwhile, the bushfires were growing, houses being destroyed, people being killed, power going out.

The death toll was about 36. I could barely sleep. I kept thinking about those poor people. I think there were about nine fires going on at different locations.

The next day, fires grew, and I found out that two joined into one big one. The death toll had jumped to 75 and a family of six in a car had died. On Monday, at school, they started selling ducks for $2, which will go to the fires.

We talked about it and me, Ella, and Ellie had talked about having free dress days and bringing $2 for the fires. On Tuesday, I bought two ducks one from my own money and one from Mum and Dad. On Wednesday, the death toll reached 100.

You’d be surprised how many kids died. It felt so surprising that all these poor innocent people were dying, while I was living a normal life.

On Tuesday they kept selling the ducks but some didn’t make a quack, so they were $1.

Bushfires brought devastation again ten years later during the 2019-2020 bushfire season. While fire events are characteristic of the Australian landscape, the magnitude of the fires and the threat of our changing climate puts many people and habitats at risk. I hope this recount, told with the innocence and language of a 10-year-old, is a reminder of the devastation of those fires and those impacted.