Remote area and volunteer firefighters embedded themselves at the visitors centre.
The iconic airwalk was saved but parts needed to be re-engineered.
Stronach and his landlord, Sustainable Timbers Tasmania (STT), worked for 13 months and reopened on February 29 last year.
“We traded for 3 weeks and a day until we had to close because of the pandemic,” he says.
Even with this second punch to the guts so soon after the bushfires, Stronach hasn’t been knocked down,
Tahune Adventures resumed seven-day trading on Boxing Day.
Stronach is in touch with other tourism operators statewide and agrees with their consensus that numbers are only at about 50 per cent this summer due to COVID travel restrictions, which concerns him heading into winter.
“Should we have to go back to operating only a couple days a week it won’t be sustainable, particularly if we lose JobKeeper,” he says.
“Even though it’s a private operation now, I still feel we have a social responsibility towards the Huon Valley and when I say we, I mean STT and the State Government.”
So two years on, what are the lessons to be learnt?
Bec Enders was sworn in as Huon Valley Mayor only eight weeks before the 2019 fires.
When Huon Valley residents were evacuated, the community set up an evacuation centre at the Huonville PCYC and adjacent football ground that looked after hundreds of residents.
Cr Enders understands “in a climate-changing world, of course the bushfires will be longer and they’ll be more fierce”.
With that knowledge, she posits one of the most important learnings for future bushfire disasters.
“People are recorded and then moving to a new safe location.”
An independent operational review of the management of the 2019 fires was prepared for the Tasmanian Government by the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC).
In July of last year, Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management Mark Shelton announced expressions of interest for Tasmanian volunteers to be trained to join the specialist remote area firefighting capability, which was one of AFAC’s recommendations.
This recommendation “remains in progress, with the recruitment of volunteer remote area firefighters currently at 20 of the 80 required”, a government spokesperson said, with the other eight recommendations being implemented.
Green shoots push out of the eucalypts surrounding Dale Fullard’s bush block.
They are recovering, but slowly, much like Fullard.
Being involved in his own recovery and empathising with all those affected by the devastating bushfires last summer has given him time to think.
“I do believe we live in a wealthy country and the wealth is not necessarily money, it’s also knowledge”.