By JESSE GRAHAM
THE BLACK Saturday Remembrance Cruise marked its biggest event to date, with hundreds of cars and motorbikes driving through the valley on Saturday afternoon.
On Saturday 6 February, the annual cruise made its way from Lilydale to the Healesville railway station, drawing visitors in their hundreds before the group began at 3pm.
The formation drove through Yarra Glen, Dixons Creek, and Toolangi, before finishing at Healesville, where music and a sausage sizzle awaited the participants at 4pm.
At 5pm, the crowd paused as organiser Stacey Kinsmore, Casey MP Tony Smith and Healesville CFA’s Ken Glenn made speeches about the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, before a minute of silence and a remembrance ceremony.
Ms Kinsmore told the Mail that the event was the largest yet, with an estimated 750 vehicles taking part, including many members of The Brother’s Keepers, a motorcycle club made up of CFA members.
“They represent firefighters, and that’s what the event is about as well,” she said.
“A lot of them have fought in Black Saturday, a lot of them are traumatised from Black Saturday, and they formed a group and they all support each other.”
She said there were a variety of cars at the event, with new models through to classic and vintage cars, and that support also came from passers-by, some of whom lined the streets to cheer on the drivers.
“A lot of people were sitting by the side of the road, so that was really cool to see, from Yarra Glen to Dixons Creek and over to Toolangi,” Ms Kinsmore said.
“They had set up with deck chairs and eskies – they were set in for the day.
“I know a lot of people love that part about it, and we want that, too. I really enjoy that part of it.”
Seven years on from the bushfires, which destroyed Marysville, Kinglake, Narbethong and Steels Creek, impacted Toolangi, Chum Creek, Yarra Glen and the Dandenong Ranges, and threatened Healesville, Ms Kinsmore said she thought the remembrance cruise was still needed.
“By the attendance of people there, I think it’s still really needed, and it’s still very raw in some people’s minds,” she said.
“I think that’s good about us Aussies, I suppose – we don’t forget about it, we still want to show that we can be there for each other.
“As long as there’s still a need for it, I will still do it, and there seems like there is a need for it.”
While money was still being counted, Ms Kinsmore said she hoped the event would have raised almost $10,000 for local CFA brigades.
For more photos from the event, click on the picture gallery above.