Summary of Beyond Bushfires findings

We have been asked to provide a summary of our Beyond Bushfires findings for some local commemorative events - available here (PDF 2.5 MB). Please feel free to download it for your own events. We can provide printed copies if needed.

Study Extension Announcement:

10 Years Beyond Bushfires will enable us to see how people are managing 10 years after the 2009 bushfires. The original research findings have been so widely used in Victoria, Australia and internationally that we have been funded by Emergency Management Victoria, Department of Health and Human Services and Australian Red Cross to extend the research. We are planning to visit communities and get back in touch with the original study participants in March 2019. We will share more information on this website shortly. If you would like to see a summary of the original findings, see our 2016 report here.

If you would like more information, please feel free to contact Phoebe Quinn ( or Lisa Gibbs (

Take care over the summer and anniversary period.

BB 10 Years Announcement

Photo credit: Ngaire Walhout

Overview of Original Beyond Bushfires Study:

Beyond Bushfires was a five-year study led by the University of Melbourne in partnership with a range of others, including community, government, emergency, and service agencies (see the list of partners). This study explored the medium to long term impacts of the Victorian 2009 bushfires on individuals and communities. The communities selected for this study (see list of communities) have a range of bushfire experiences from low impact to high impact. In order to understand these impacts, the study collected information in multiple ways including: surveys, interviews, focus groups and community visits (over the study period). The study looked at impacts on residents such as mental health, wellbeing and social relationships, within selected communities. There were just over 1,000 participants who completed surveys in 2012, who were followed up again in 2014. Over 2013 and 2014, in-depth interviews and focus groups took place to explore participants' experiences over time and attitudes to place and community. The research team also carried out community visits throughout the whole study to share information with community members and gain a better understanding of local conditions and issues. This helped direct the way the study was conducted locally to ensure the findings were accurate and relevant to the communities involved. For detailed information about the study methodology refer to the study protocol paper.

Recent Publications:

  1. Gibbs, L., Nursey, J., Cook, J., Ireton, G., Alkemade, N., Roberts, M., Gallagher, H. C., Bryant R., Block, K., Molyneaux, R., Forbes, D. (2019). Delayed Disaster Impacts on Academic Performance of Primary School Children. Child Development, Open Access, 1-11.
  2. Gallagher, H. C., Block, K., Gibbs, L., Forbes, D., Lusher, D., Molyneaux, R., Richardson, J., Pattison, P., MacDougall, C., & Bryant, R. The effect of group involvement on post-disaster mental health: A longitudinal multilevel analysis. Social Science and Medicine. 2019: 220; 167-175. (This link will provide open access until 4 January -
  3. Gibbs L, Ireton G, Block K, Taunt E, Pirrone A, Morrice H. Children as bushfire educators - Just be calm, and stuff like that. Journal of International Social Studies (in press)
  4. Gibbs L, Molyneaux R, Whiteley S, Block K, Harms L, Bryant R.A., Forbes D, Gallagher H. C., MacDougall C, Ireton G. Distress and satisfaction with research participation: impact on retention in longitudinal disaster research. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction (2018) 27: 68-74

Click here to access all study publications


Thanks so much to Cathy Soulsby, Kim Jeffs and Andrew Heath for sharing these amazing poems as part of their own commemoration activities to mark 10 years since the Black Saturday bushfires.

'I remember' by Cathy Soulsby
'10 years since the fires' by Kim Jeffs

'Poem of reflection' by Andrew Heath