A gripping and immediate account of one of the worst disasters in Australian history.
Early in the afternoon of 9 February 2014, during the worst drought and heatwave south-eastern Australia had experienced in over a century, two separate bushfires raged towards the massive Hazelwood open-pit brown-coal mine, near Morwell in the Latrobe Valley. The fires overwhelmed local fire-fighting efforts and sent a skyful of embers sailing onto millions of square metres of exposed, highly flammable brown coal. Twelve hours later, the mine was ablaze.
The Hazelwood mine fire burned out of control for 45 days. As the air filled with toxic smoke and ash, residents of the Latrobe Valley became ill, afraid – and angry. Up against an unresponsive corporation and an indifferent government, the community banded together, turning tragedy into a political fight.
In Hazelwood, Tom Doig reveals the decades of decisions that led to the fire, and gives an intimate account of the first moments of the blaze and the dark months that followed. This is a gripping and immediate report of one of the worst environmental and public health disasters in Australian history.
“Compelling and urgent . . . The gripping narrative plays out like a true-crime thriller.”
Andrew Wrathall, Books+Publishing
“These oral history interviews are the heart of Doig’s book, with personal stories woven through the narrative and then backed up by the documentary record of local media, government records and official inquiries. Doig’s book offers an acute critique of how governments cut environmental corners to sponsor mining and industry, about the civic and environmental irresponsibility of multinational mining corporations, and about why workers and communities dependent on such industries are often unwilling or unable to criticise them, until it is too late.”
Alistair Thomson, Australian Book Review
“A crucial analysis of the complex relationship between political and socio-economic factors in the fallout from one of Victoria's worst environmental disasters and provides a voice to those who were most affected.”
“Hazelwood is a terrifying, eye opening, and fascinating read that made me realise how little I know about where our energy comes from, and the human and environmental cost required to produce it.”
Chloe Cooper, Kill Your Darlings