From the Embers 2: Phoenix

Amy Leiper, 6th June 2022
Series two of From the Embers returns to some of the areas hardest hit by the 2019-2020 bushfires and visits new communities recovering from severe flooding and successive COVID lockdowns to learn how people are working together to rebuild and learn for the future…In 2019, major fires surged across Australia lasting until rains and floods extinguished them in 2020. Most remember this as the worst season Australia had experienced.

From the Embers season 2: Phoenix revisits towns explored in the first series, taking listeners to the east Coast of Australia, to Mallacoota and Moruya and across to South Australia’s Adelaide Hills and Kangaroo Island, to explore how communities are contending with trauma and isolation as they recover- and even as some rebuild, severe flooding has inundated communities across New South Wales and Queensland with record high levels and people left calling from rooftops.

Across the series, the impact of COVID-19 is evident as we visit the people left isolated and struggling to be able to re-engage with their communities and maintain a sense of normalcy and creativity as they went through wave after wave of lockdowns.

From The Embers 2: Phoenix is produced in partnership with the series producers and local community radio stations.

Gritty. Real. Hopeful.

Listen Now | An engaging 9 part series.

From the Embers 2: Phoenix is an important reminder to us all of the essential role that storytelling plays in ensuring we allow those affected to be honoured and heal, without feeling overlooked. Each episode explores a different theme.

  • Episode 1, ‘When Lightning Strikes Twice’, returns to Kangaroo Island to see how the island recovered following the bushfires of January 2020 as they dealt with COVID lockdowns and tourist numbers starting to rise again.
  • Episode 2, 'The House on the Hill' visits residents in Lobethal, who fled their homes for safety in December 2019, as the Cudlee Creek fire destroyed 85 homes in over 10 days. As the recovery rolled-out, the pandemic crept in - isolating people and leaving those who’d lost their homes feeling isolated and forgotten.
  • Episode 3, 'Framing Disaster' revisits Mallacoota two years after the massive fire that tore through the tiny coastal town in Victoria, the camping grounds are full again, koalas can be spotted in the crowns of eucalypts and the landscape is green with epicormic growth. But the town is dotted with empty lots where houses once stood and the new green growth only hides the blackened trunks. Photojournalist Rachel Mounsey documented the approach of the bushfire and the aftermath, focusing her camera on the people who lost their homes amidst the devastation.

  • Episode 4, 'Disappearing Swiftly' visits the South Central Coast of NSW. When the megafires of 2019/2020 tore through the area, they damaged communities, homes and landscapes. They also destroyed forests that home the critically endangered Swift Parrot. Straight after the fires, logging companies and urban developers moved in on the ravaged bush while some South Coast communities took action to protect vulnerable species and their habitat. 

  • Episode 5, 'Right Fire Wrong Fire' - goes to the South Coast of NSW where the mega fires of 2019/20 destroyed one and a half million hectares of Yuin Country, killing countless animals, plants and insect species - some of which are now on the brink of extinction. Many members of the South Coast Yuin Community call these mega fires, ‘Wrong Fire’ - fire that can’t be controlled and has the capacity to injure and kill. This compares very differently to Right Fire, or what is often called Cultural Burning. Right burning has been practiced for thousands of years and today it still has the capacity to heal and care for all. *Content warning: this feature contains stories from the 2019/20 fires. 

  • Episode 6, 'Roofs Above Water' - Lismore in Northern New South Wales is dissected by two major rivers. When there’s heavy rainfall, water flows down from the surrounding hills, slowing at the bottom and spreading across the floodplain. The town’s residents know floods, their houses are built high, some four metres off the ground in the canopies of trees. On February 27 2022, water inundated the town, sweeping away cars, stranding residents on rooftops and filling houses with inches of mud.

  • Episode 7, 'Rising Rivers' Day after day of intense rainfall fell across southeast Queensland In February 2022, breaking riverbanks, swamping roads and flooding homes. The city of Brisbane experienced one of the worst floods on record. In three days alone, Brisbane received 80 per cent of its annual rainfall as people scrambled to find higher ground to shelter.  

  • Episode 8, 'A Change In The Landscape' Four Emergency level bushfires burned over one weekend in Western Australia in February 2022. With roughly 30% of WA agricultural land, most farmers are prepared for fire at any time. But when one comes, they rely heavily on volunteer farmers and locals who form the  Bush Fire Brigade. 

  • Episode 9, 'The Stage Goes DarkMelbourne became a ghost town during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pubs and venues closed their doors, leaving many of the city’s artists and creatives without a stage or an audience. Yet over the months, it was the creative industries, that have kept communities strong by adapting to unprecedented circumstances.

How to Listen

Subscribe to From the Embers 2: Phoenix on Community Radio PlusApple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts or Spotify

For enquires about broadcasting the series, From the Embers 2: Phoenix, contact the CBAA.

With special thanks to our partner stations and media organisations
And special thanks to our partners

From the Embers Season 2: Phoenix is supported by The Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and IdeasThe Paul Ramsay FoundationMonash University’s Fire to Flourish program and The Minderoo Foundation Fire and Flood Resilience Initiative and broadcast across Australia via the Community Radio Network, and available to listen on Community Radio Plus.

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From the Embers goes to Lismore, a NSW town that experienced severe flooding in February 2022. On February 27 2022, water inundated the town, sweeping away cars, stranding residents on rooftops and filling houses with inches of mud. In the weeks that followed volunteer hubs sprang up to feed and clothe locals forced to shelter in tents and cars as they struggle to recover with minimal support and start to clean out and rebuild their homes in the trees. 


The Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA) announced a second season of the From The Embers (From the Embers 2: Phoenix) short radio series and podcast will soon be released. 


From the Embers revisits Mallacoota to see how the coastal town in Victoria that was hit by a massive fire two years ago has been recovering.