An inspiring story, from Michael Leaney, proprietor Star Hotel, Walhalla, Gippsland
"Walhalla has faced 5 bushfires in close proximity in 8 years. On Black Saturday the fire burnt to within metres of the town, yet the town survived unscathed. While we have a very small population [less than 20 people] we have a population which is highly aware and prepared for the prospect of fire.
"On Black Saturday, we took heed of the numerous warnings in the build up. The business in town closed for the day, the hotel asked their guests to depart and campers and holiday makers were advised to depart. This was in the early hours of the day and this was off our own bat, no one told us to do this. As a township, we prepared hoses and equipment throughout the village and basically sat back and waited for something to happen…with a focused and mentally prepared group of townsfolk remaining…anyone who wouldn't cope was asked to leave. This team of defenders then went about our task of waiting for something to happen…at about 6:30pm we swung into action.
"Walhalla didn't loose a house and was protected by a small group of well prepared, focused people."