Sunflower symbolises new start

Bryce Eishold

Yinnar South resident Suze Benson describes it as a metaphor for “new hope and new life”.

A sunflower, grown from seed and watered daily through Gippsland’s scorching summer, flowered days after a bushfire nearly destroyed her family’s home.

The Brewsters Road resident and mother of four said she “couldn’t believe it” when she returned to the property two days after the Yinnar South-Budgeree blaze came “too close for comfort” to the family’s property of 15 years.

Ms Benson’s husband, Tate, and a handful of “good, decent friends” stayed to fight the fire which they say “basically wrapped itself around our property”.

Meanwhile, Ms Benson and her four children Lavinia, Eleanor, Elliott and Matilda evacuated on Saturday afternoon.

But after returning on Monday with some much-needed supplies for her husband and friends, Ms Benson noticed a “new sign of hope” – a sunflower grown from a seed by daughter, Lavinia.

“She’s nurtured it through every single hot day of this summer, all those 40-degree days,” Ms Benson said.

“She received [it] as a parting gift from her school teacher at the end of last year and we’ve just been waiting for it to blossom. I think it shows new hope and new life for our community.”

The Benson’s property, located at the top end of Brewsters Road,

would have been destroyed had it not been for the efforts of her husband and their friends.

“It wasn’t just the efforts of my husband Tate, it was a community effort. Everybody helped out and everyone banded together to put these fires out to save not just our property, but everybody’s,” Ms Benson said.

“If it wasn’t for the efforts of those within our community, there would have been quite a number of devastated families.”