Why Isn’t There a Plan? Community Vulnerability and Resilience in the Latrobe Valley’s Open Cut Coal Mine Town

Michelle Duffy, Pamela Wood, Sue Whyte, Susan Yell, Matthew Carroll

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


On February 9, 2014, the town of Morwell in Victoria, Australia, was confronted with several bushfires, resulting in a blaze at the Morwell open cut coal mine adjacent to the Hazelwood power station. For 45 days, the local communities were impacted by smoke, ash, and reports of raised carbon monoxide levels. The duration of the crisis placed an unprecedented strain on the capacity of the community and the authorities to adequately respond. Many see Morwell as vulnerable to future events because it is surrounded by coal mines, power stations, forests, and pine plantations. Drawing on interviews from key stakeholders in the community and a detailed analysis of media reports and social media, this chapter examines the factors that both harm and promote community resilience. It emphasizes the complexity of resilience and the importance of communal narratives as community members react to and recover from traumatic experiences and unknown futures.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResponses to Disasters and Climate Change
Subtitle of host publicationUnderstanding Vulnerability and Fostering Resilience
EditorsMichele Companion, Miriam S. Chaiken
Place of PublicationBoca Raton, FL
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781315315911
ISBN (Print)9781498760966
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Disaster resilience
  • Mine fire
  • Community vulnerability

Cite this