In 2014, an open-cut coal mine fire burned for 45 days in the small single-industry town of Hazelwood in Victoria (Australia) spreading smoke and ash across the adjacent community of Morwell. This chapter examines the extent to which the mine fire acted as a catalyst for demographic and socio-economic change and considers how, if at all, it impacted Morwell’s resilience to disasters. We report on a range of secondary data analyses augmented with qualitative insights captured in government reports (namely, the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry reports), as well as from related research papers and media articles. We suggest that a succession of structural and demographic changes meant that the town and its residents were accustomed and resilient to relatively large shocks. In this sense, the Morwell and broader Latrobe Valley population banded together around various community-led initiatives to fight for a better future for their community.
|Title of host publication||The Demography of Disasters|
|Subtitle of host publication||Impacts for Population and Place|
|Editors||Dávid Karácsonyi, Andrew Taylor, Deanne Bird|
|Number of pages||27|
|Publication status||Published - 2020|