Reflection ... The commemoration service at the Bushfire Memorial. Photo: Rohan Thomson
Almost eight years ago, Emily Rooney contributed a brick with the word ''Love'' on it for the wall of the ACT Bushfire Memorial. Her family home in Duffy had been destroyed in the 2003 firestorm.
A decade after the fires, Ms Rooney, 38, travelled from her new home in Byron Bay for Friday's commemoration service at the Bushfire Memorial.
''I was always very passionate about what home meant to people long before [the firestorm] and I had studied feng shui and life coaching, so I was very interested in the way homes can be a tool for growth and transformation,'' she said.
Emily Rooney, of Byron Bay, lost her family home in Duffy in the 2003 fires. Photo: Rohan Thomson
''Mum and dad lost their house in Warragamba Avenue so it took on a whole new meaning. So I'm actually writing a book about the last 10 years, a bit of a memoir about my journey.
''I'm also keen to get together communities who have been through similar experiences. For example, getting people who are down the track in Canberra connecting with people in Tasmania who are just going through it.''
Ms Rooney's project, which she has called Suddenly Homeless (suddenlyhomeless.com), is about trying to ''foster community connections between people who are suddenly homeless with those who have been''.
Emily's contribution to the ACT Bushfire Memorial, a brick with the word "Love" on it. Photo: Rohan Thomson
She performed her own personal ceremony at the commemoration on Friday, placing a small origami house with the word ''Empowered'' on her brick.
It was a gesture inspired by another project, 1000 Homes of Happiness (1000homesofhappiness.com). People can request an origami house to be sent to them with their word of choice. They then ''release'' the home somewhere and hope it offers some inspiration.
Ms Rooney chose ''Empowered'' because ''it's been a significant word and symbol for us''.
Her mother, Barbara Rooney, 72, was also at Friday's ceremony. She and her husband Jack had only been in their house for six weeks when the firestorm hit but had lived in Duffy in another house for 27 years.
''So we had a very close connection to Duffy,'' Mrs Rooney said. ''But after the fire, land was at such a premium that we sold the block. We went overseas and rented for a year and then finally bought a house in Kambah.''