This week we spent an afternoon in Marysville to see how it was progressing. Three years ago, this week, a giant ferocious bush fire destroyed the town and dozens of people lost their lives.
We first re-visited the town a few months after the fires when local people were encouraging visitors as a way of stimulating the economy of the town.
Three years later, it’s interesting to see how much progress is being made as the town continues to redevelop. Frankly, I’m quite disappointed.
Perhaps I expected more development over this period of time. Over 50% over the house blocks are still vacant and this once vibrant tourist town still resembles something of a ghost town. Sure, some of the important pieces of infrastructure have been replaced. There is a new fire station, a new school, community centre and a new shopping centre down by the Steaphenson River. A new police station is currently half built.
However, the main street is still almost empty. The sites of the old pub at the top of the street and the Cumberland Guest House (along with the sites of all the other large guest houses in the town) are still vacant. Perhaps rebuilding priority is addressing needs of local residents in preference to tourists and conference groups who may not be interested in looking at the grey skeletons of trees on the once forested hills.
We drove to the track up to the Steavenson Falls. This was closed for a long time, but is now open, with new facilities being built. As expected, the falls which were once surrounded by forest, are now bare in a stark and open landscape. They have quite a grand prescence, but lack their once hidden verdant closeting in the bush.
We’ll go back again and hope that Marysville progresses its recovery at a faster pace than it has up until now.