Dungog residents moving forward after the April 2015 superstorm | photos

A photographic exhibition will shine the light on Dungog’s resilience in moving forward from last year’s superstorm.

Staff of the Dungog Shire Community Centre along with volunteers and those affected by the April 2015 disaster have banded together to create a positive calming space for people to visit and reflect.

Set up in the Dungog Festival office, there will be numerous photos showcasing the support, love and togetherness people received after the event.

“But there won’t be any flood photos,” said Dungog Shire Community Centre manager Sarah U’Brien.

“These are photos to unite everyone, where people can see the resilience and moving forward of the people who were affected by the storm.

“It has been a time of sorrow and grief but people are slowly recovering and trying to rebuild their lives.

“People who have moved back into their homes are baking and ready to share their famous cakes slices with others.

FEELING THE LOVE: Karen Sowter, Alison Martin, Mandy Gilbert and Sarah U’Brien heading across the road to the photographic exhibition.

FEELING THE LOVE: Karen Sowter, Alison Martin, Mandy Gilbert and Sarah U’Brien heading across the road to the photographic exhibition.

“This will be a space for the whole community to come and reflect the events of the past 12 months.

“The words used as part of the exhibition don’t reflect on loss, grief and pain but the healing from that – love, tenacity and moving forward.”

As many Dungog Shire residents lived in gumboots and gardening gloves for weeks a corner has been set aside to feature these items.

There are also folded up clothes in the corner which reflects those volunteers who worked tirelessly in the clothing pool sorting and organising clean clothes and linen for those affected by the storm.

“It’s been such a privilege to work, support and care for these people,” Ms U’Brien said.

“They put a lot of trust in us . . . the emotion would sweep you away sometimes.

“We have had people tell us that someone came and cleaned out their flooded homes and they don’t know who they were to thank.

“And the people of Torryburn are some of the most tenacious people I know.

“We tried to help them the best we could and when the bridge was washed away they retrieved as much timber as possible to rebuild an internal bridge.

“But the bolts had been washed away so we got 200 coach bolts and they were able to build their bridge.

“They seemed to deal so calmly with the isolation.

“Recovery is a long process, there is no end date.  Everyone has to deal with it in their own way.

“Some want help and others just want to do it themselves.”

The Reflections of Resilience photographic exhibition will be open for six days from today (Monday).

Tea and coffee will be available and there are calming places to sit and reflect.

Dungog Arts Society is providing art therapy space for both adults and children and an art therapist will be onsite to work through with different art mediums for people to express their feelings.


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