GG tours fire-ravaged region

Written By miftah nugraha on Rabu, 06 Februari 2013 | 19.55

Dunalley residents Noel and Judy Young show Governor-General Quentin Bryce the site where their home once stood. Picture: NIKKI DAVIS-JONES

THE Governor-General has paid tribute to the fighting spirit of Tasmania's fire-ravaged communities.

Quentin Bryce arrived in Hobart yesterday after a whirlwind Antarctic visit.

She today visited some of the 193 properties ravaged by a fire that started on January 4 and wiped out homes and livelihoods in the Dunalley and Murdunna areas in the state's south-east.

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"I've met people today who have lost everything, so many treasures, so many things that make up their memories across generations, but I am struck by the courage that shines through," she said at Sommers Bay this afternoon.

"There are people who are retired and who are starting all over again, then there are the children we've been talking to who lost everything except for one Christmas present.

"From time to time they break down in tears … but we know they'll all get going.

"What I want to do is anything I can to ensure we keep our commitment to being part of this road to recovery ahead with them."

Ms Bryce thanked Tasmania Fire Service chief Mike Brown for his team's life-saving efforts in the face of extreme danger.

She also praised the mateship shown by hundreds of interstate and New Zealand firies who travelled to Tasmania to help out.

"I am so filled with admiration and respect for the emergency services workers and the marvellous volunteers," Ms Bryce said.

"I feel enormously proud of the spirit of our fellow Australians."

Ms Bryce also visited the resurrected Dunalley Primary School -- razed by fire on January 4 -- to inspect the rapid progress being made.

Several temporary classrooms will open for business next Wednesday.

"This is a story about hope and courage and a reminder of how volatile this beautiful landscape can be," the Govenor-General said.

"It makes you think very deeply and with enormous gratitude that no one's been hurt, that nobody's been badly injured."

Those who met Ms Bryce said they were heartened by her visit.

"We see we have so much support from so many people out there and it really does make such a difference," Boomer Bay resident Simon Brooks said.

"We'll get there."

Ms Bryce ended her tour of the fire zone with lunch and a chat with affected residents at the local golf club.

She is due to fly out of Hobart later today.

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