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Boots - Country Fire Authority, St Andrews, Victoria, circa 2003 Object Reg. No: HT 32671

Boots issued to Stella Reid as part of her CFA uniform. Stella joined the CFA in 1997 to learn how to protect the wildlife, understand the local topography and fire behaviour. After Black Saturday Stella decided not to continue her active involvement with the CFA.

Stella recalled that: 'The boots were issued to us when you first joined CFA. They are issued to you because they are metal-toed, they support your ankles and they've got a good fire rating on them, so you can walk on hot coals with them. You shouldn't but you can. All firefighters are fitted with them, and they're very expensive.. that was my second pair since the CFA, ... I wore mine for months after the fires too. And the reason for that was, the bush was so hot, the ground was so hot, the ground was still burning months afterwards, and you could step into what looked like a flat piece of land, and disappear a good foot or two down, and there was red coals down there. ...So those boots became my lifeline, and I wore them, and loved them all the time. They actually now are not legal boots to wear, because since Black Saturday they now use boots which are much higher above the ankle, to protect you from stepping into big holes that are on fire. I think the fire rating's higher on them too. And they've got a zip on the front that doesn't allow the ash to drop inside the boot'.

Alan and Stella Reid live adjacent to the Kinglake National Park. They created 'Wildhaven' in 1998, as a refuge and rehabilitation centre specialising in kangaroos, wallabies and koalas. The Black Saturday bushfires destroyed everything on their property, all of the animals in their care were killed, and their home and other buildings were razed. Stella is a member of the St Andrews CFA and was on active duty during the day; she witnessed her home go up in flames from across the valley. Alan, who was at home when the fire struck was lucky to escape without injury. The fire killed twelve of their neighbours, the 40-50 animals in their care, hundreds of animals in the surrounding properties, and (according to their estimate) up to 90% of the wildlife in Kinglake National Park.
Pair of black ankle-high leather steel-toe boots. The boots have both a zip and laces to fasten them.
Statement Of Significance:
This item is part of a collection relating to the experiences of Alan and Stella Reid following the devastating impact of the Black Saturday bushfires. In particular it helps provide insights into the community response through the variety of gifts and donations provided to survivors of the bushfires and the ideas of the types of needs they represented.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Ms Stella Reid - Wildhaven Wildlife Shelter, 2012
Discipline: History

More information

Tagged with: rural victoria, bushfires, emergency services, volunteers, wildlife rescue, rural women, wildlife
Themes this item is part of: Sustainable Futures Collection, Victorian Bushfires Collection
Primary Classification: SUSTAINABILITY
Secondary Classification: Natural Disasters
Tertiary Classification: bushfires
Issued By: Country Fire Authority (CFA), St Andrews, circa 2003
User: Ms Stella Reid - Wildhaven Wildlife Shelter, St Andrews, Victoria, Australia, circa 2003-2012
Date of Event: St Andrews, Victoria, Australia, 07 Feb 2009

Stella used the boots while on duty during the Black Saturday Bushfires.
References: Interview with Stella Reid, 4 Sep 2012

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