ANU Centre for European Studies Master of Philosophy graduate Jane Smyth has been awarded the medal of the Order of Australia for her community service.
Below is an excerpt of The Canberra Times article. Read the full article here.
Australia Day: Jane Smyth, educator and survivor of the 2003 bushfires
The Canberra Times, 25 January 2019
Author: Sally Pryor
Jane Smyth never expected losing her house would lead one day to Australia Day accolades.
She and her husband Rick were among the hundreds of Canberrans who watched their house burn to the ground on January 18, 2003.
In the months afterwards, while homeless and with no possessions, she was invited to represent the community on the Emergency Management Committee, formed by ACT Emergency Services. She has been awarded the medal of the Order of Australia for her work on the committee, and for her many other contributions to the Canberra community.
Coming from an education background, she used her time on the committee as an opportunity to urge emergency services to educate Canberrans about what to do in a fire.
“There was a need to talk about the fires and what had happened, and there was a need to be aware that we'd been so unprepared, and to suggest what might happen in the future,” she said.
“I did very much want to make sure that we never again were unprepared. It was such a shocking thing - 500 homes were lost, people died, and were damaged and scarred for life. It was terrible and it shouldn't have happened.”