As the public reflects on the 30th anniversary of the horrific Ash Wednesday bushfires in 1983, an enduring and haunting mystery comes back to mind.
Somewhere, at the time of the Beaconsfield fires, a community kindergarten became the last refuge for fearful parents, many children and an assortment of beloved pet animals.
As the rapacious bushfire approached, two heroic men reportedly climbed on top of the building and, with little regard for their own safety, stayed on the roof, pouring water over the building that was sheltering the precious human lives within its walls.
Following the passing of the fire, the adults and children emerged safely from the building.
Of the two heroic firefighters, however, there was no sign. These magnificent, courageous men had apparently slipped away, preferring anonymity, rather than coming forward to have their courage publicly recognised.
In the immediate days that followed, and in the absence of formal identification, this remarkable and courageous story regrettably faded from mainstream news.
Three decades on, however, the unanswered questions remain, begging for answers. Who were these two men? To which fire brigade did they belong? Were they even known to each other?
Exposed to the fire’s front, heat and embers, were they injured in the approaching fire themselves?
Selfless firefighters and volunteers are rightly honoured by their communities.
To those extraordinary Ash Wednesday firefighters, wherever they are today, and whoever they might be, there are people who still remember your evocative story and who salute and acknowledge your raw courage on that most dreadful of all days.