Related Projects

ReCap (or Recovery Capitals) is an Australia-New Zealand collaboration funded by the Bushfire & Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre. The project will investigate how the potential of different forms of community capital (social, human, cultural, natural, financial, built & political) may be maximised to promote positive recovery outcomes and stable communities following disaster exposure .

Strengthening School Communities

The Strengthening School Communities study confirmed experiential evidence from previous disasters about the nature and extent of post disaster impacts on teachers and school communities after the Black Saturday bushfires, providing insights into future strategies to support the role of teachers in the recovery period.

The study consisted of several components using mixed methods to develop new knowledge and approaches.

Firstly, an analysis of state-wide NAPLAN data demonstrated the extended impacts of the Black Saturday bushfires on the academic progress of primary school children in affected schools.

The release of the findings coincided with the 10 year anniversary of the Black Saturday bushfires and contributed evidence to a decision to invest $1million in State Government funding for additional programs to support student mental health, wellbeing and learning, and to support teacher mental health, wellbeing and professional capacity within the government education sector. State government found the research evidence about student academic impacts so useful that an additional $200,000 was invested in further research about longer term academic impacts.

The research also highlighted the changed demands and stressors affecting teachers in the aftermath of a disaster which can be difficult to address in a system focussed on student needs, including rapid return to school. The findings relating to teacher support needs were used to identify opportunities to upgrade the existing online program - Skills for Psychological Recovery – Teachers (SPRT). An additional module addressing self-care strategies was developed and different delivery modes were piloted in a primary and a secondary school to provide guidance for future practice.

Strengthening Children & Families in Disaster and Emergency Recovery

This project will develop and deliver evidence-informed, practical support resources that provide direction on how to address the impacts of disasters and other major emergencies on child mental health and wellbeing, family function and positive parenting.

The resources will be specifically designed for families, schools, services providers and community recovery services in regional/rural centres. When disaster strikes, these resources will enable communities to take an informed and unifying step towards recovery.

It is a collaboration between the University of Melbourne, Australian Red Cross, Phoenix Australia Centre of Posttraumatic Mental Health, Vic Department of Education and Training and community stakeholders.

Kate Brady

What supports recovery from emergency events (in high income, developed countries) from the perspective of people affected by emergencies. (2013-2017). Supervisors: Lisa Gibbs, Louise Harms. APA scholarship. (In progress)

Connie Kellett

Anger, and anger support, for individuals and communities affected by the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires. (2011-2017). Supervisors: Louise Harms, Lisa Gibbs. APAI scholarship through the Beyond Bushfires ARC Linkage Grant. (Submitted)

Lauren Kosta

Parenting after a disaster: Experiences since Black Saturday. (2013-2017) Supervisors: Louise Harms, Lisa Gibbs, David Rose. STRAPA scholarship through the Melbourne Social Equity Institute. (Submitted)

Marius Lok

A Network Society: The study of the use of Information and Communication Technology in long-term disaster recovery. (2011-2015). Supervisors: Louise Harms, Lisa Gibbs. Faculty Research Scholarship and the IBES top-up scholarship. (Successful completion)

Gisela van Kessel

An exploration of the interventions perceived to influence the resilience of adult populations to the effects of natural disasters. (2011-2013). Professional Doctorate. School of Public Health, Flinders University, Supervisors: Colin MacDougall, Lisa Gibbs. (Successful completion)

The Bigger Picture Project was part of the Fire Recovery Unit's fifth year anniversary event. It gave people the chance to share signs of recovery that had occurred over the five years since the 2009 Victorian Bushfires.These photos were initially hosted on the Piece Together website, however this website has been decommissioned so we will continue to display these wonderful photos at this location. These photos were taken by community members and represent hope, something about their current life or something that made them laugh, along with some photos that showed the difficulties people have been through.

We feel privileged that we are able to share these photos with you - please take the time to admire the talented photographers and their journeys.

These photos were also digitally displayed at the Fifth Anniversary Remembrance Event hosted by the Victorian Government at the Melbourne Museum on Sunday 9th February 2014.

Photo Gallery