ALL THE BEST

#1411 Morwell

February 4, 2020

Play

Back in February 2014, a coal mine in Morwell caught fire. The entire town was covered in ash. Residents were told to evacuate, the council was giving out masks while the rest of the state worried that they would lose power.

The Hazelwood Power Corporation, which owns the mine, has since been found guilty of putting staff and the public at risk. The fire had significant health impacts on residents.

Now, as large sections of Australia burn and are blanketed in smoke, it felt particularly relevant to revisit this episode when toxic smoke blanketed the town of Morwell, as a direct result of the fossil fuel industry.

Steve Szabo

The mine fire is all south of the train tracks that run through Morwell but the bushfire that sparked the disaster began just north of the tracks on Toners Lane near Steve Szabo’s Golf Driving range.

Produced by Michael Brydon

Deb Hollis

Deb Hollis is a mother and a carer for her autistic son. She talks to Sally Whyte about the ways the ash and smoke from the fire effected her family.

Produced by Sally Whyte

Simon Ellis

Simon Ellis watched the fires start from his veranda. He shows Sally where they came in, and tells her about the effect the fire has had on his life and family.

Produced by Sally Whyte

Councillor Christine Sindt

We travelled to  Morwell was the day the EPA said that the air quality was safe for residents to return. A lot of Morwell, especially south of the railway tracks, have relocated to neighbouring towns, or Melbourne. Councillor Christine Sindt was one of the many residents who evacuated South Morwell.

Produced by Sally Whyte

Friends of the Garden

Morwell might be covered in ash and smell like smoke, but it is still full of roses. On the roundabouts, in people’s front yards and in the town’s rose garden. Del Matthews, Elizabeth Stewart and Karen Cooper tell Michael that the mine fire may have had an unintended beneficiary.

Produced by Michael Brydon

Music credit: Clinging To The Almost by Bell Garden Orchestra


All The Best credits:

Executive Producer: Ryan Pemberton

Victorian State Coordinator: Jordan Fennell

Host: Maddy Macquine

Community Coordinators: Chloe Gillespie and Danni Stewart

SYN Community Coordinator: Lee Robinson

Social Media Producer: Matilda Fay