The Strathewen Mosaic Letter Boxes and The Beautiful Memorial Tree

Strathewen Mosaic letter Box

Strathewen Mosaic Letter Box

The Strathewen Mosaic Letter Box Project was launched in August 2010 and began three months after the Feb 7 2009 fires which decimated the township of Strathewen. Victoria experienced severe fire weather that day which resulted in a firestorm in which 173 people died. Two of the Major fires were experienced in the Kinglake region and in the Marysville region. Strathewen is near the Kinglake National Park, on Feb 7 2009 23 residents died (from a population of 200) and 80 houses were destroyed.

Marion Oakley, a mosaic artist from Strathewen, provided a space for the people of Strathewen to come together, grieve, talk and construct new mosaic letterboxes. It was important to her that they put some colour back into the blackened landscape. Over time others joined the project from outside the community to also help make mosaic letterboxes and contribute in  rebuilding the Strathewen community.

Mosaic Letter Box - broken-plate-mosaic-belt-buckles

Strathewen is an apple and pear producing area which also hosts some small wineries.  It’s not really the kind of place you would pass through to get anywhere and the people who lived there liked that about the place.


Strathewe- broken-plate-mosaic-belt-buckles


The typical letterboxes in the area looked not unlike these ones that I photographed on my way into Strathewen.

handmade mosaic belt buckle

I inadvertently disturbed this fella when I stopped to photograph the letterboxes!

handmade mosaic belt buckles

Having seen the Mosaic Letterboxes when they were on display after the completion of the project. I was interested to visit Strathewen and see the letterboxes around the community.

mosaic belt buckles

handmade mosaic belt buckle

Strathewen is still in the process of rebuilding, even though it has been over five years since the fires.

I found these three beauties outside the newly rebuilt Strathewen Primary School

unique handmade mosaic belt buckles


unique handmade mosaic belt buckles primary school

unique handmade mosaic belt buckles primary school 2

This one was perched up higher on the hill

unique handmade mosaic belt buckle

The devastation of the fires is still apparent in the landscape

unique handmade mosaic belt buckle



unique hand made mosaic belt buckle 2

And it felt very appropriate to be paying my respects to this area on Anzac Day.

unique handmade mosaic belt buckles 8

unique handmade mosaic belt buckles 3

unique hand made mosaic buckles 4

unique handmade mosaic belt buckles 7

unique handmade mosaic belt buckles 5

The Peter Avoca Memorial Pavillion at the Strathewen Recreational Reserve was also the site chose for the

Blacksmiths Tree.

unique handmade mosaic belt buckles tree

The Blacksmiths Tree is an extraordinary piece of community art which was developed as a gift to all of the communities who were impacted by the Feb 7 2009 fires.

The Blacksmiths Tree was erected on February 14, 2014 and was five years in the making. Hundreds of blacksmiths from across 20 countries around the world forged leaves for the tree.


unique handmade mosaic belt buckles tree 3

The Blacksmiths Tree is 10 metres high and is made from stainless steal and copper. It looks like a dead, fire affected gum tree and it is very beautiful. It fits perfectly into the landscape which surrounds it.

There is also a memorial park to commemorate the 23 lives lost in Strathewen on Feb 7 2009.

unique handmade mosaic belt buckle memorial

unique handmade mosaic belt buckles memorial

Lest We Forget.



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