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Residents move on but memories linger

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The residents of Lincoln Close, Chapman, may have rebuilt and moved on in the 10 years since the 2003 bushfires, but they are always on alert in the summer months.

And instead of taking part in any official ceremonies to mark the 10-year anniversary on Friday, the small street of 24 houses - half of which were destroyed - will hold one of its regular fire drills before having a quiet gathering.

Resident Joe Walker, who lost his house at No. 7, says he and his wife Janet aren't much interested in all the events going on this week.

"All the houses - all those that were burned down - have been rebuilt.

''Everyone is sort of settled back in their lives as per normal.

"We're going to have our own little thing. Virtually everybody in the street is of the same mind.

''We don't want to be bothered with whatever else is going on."

But he admits that reminders of that awful day are all around them, whether they like it or not.

A piece of the melted engine of Mr Walker's beloved Mercedes Benz C240 hangs on the wall of his workshop.

He bought another of that model, but it is not the same.

He also has, tucked away, the wedding and engagement rings belonging to his late first wife.

They survived, miraculously intact, while most other objects nearby were reduced to twisted metal and ash.

He said having a community fire unit had brought the already close-knit street even closer.

"In terms of how the street has managed, I think we've done wonderfully well," he said.

"A number of new folks have come in, most of them are young people.

''So we now have kids running around in the street, which is pretty good.

''I think everyone has pretty well psychologically recovered from what was a bit of a disaster all those years ago."

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