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PM leads London tribute, remembering Victoria -

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Reporter: Lyndal Curtis

ELEANOR HALL: Three thousand people gathered at Westminster Abbey in London earlier today for a
service to remember the victims of the Victorian bushfires.

Chief political correspondent, Lyndal Curtis attended the service and filed this report.

(Sound of a choir)

KEVIN RUDD: We meet in great sadness as we remember those who have suffered unspeakable sadness in
last month's great Victorian bushfires.

For Australians the world suddenly became silent and still on Black Saturday; silent and still as
we confronted the overwhelming power of nature and the overwhelming terror of fire.

Black Saturday felt like an assault on our very soul.

For those in this great city London who are here tonight and who have lost friends and families in
the fires of Victoria, our hearts go out to each and every one of you in your grief.

In times of great tragedy, separation is a terrible thing. This memorial service is therefore about
sadness and it is about separation from those whom we love. But it is also about solidarity and
support from those who love us because we have known throughout this tragedy that we, in Australia
were not alone.

(Sound of a choir)

In Australia we have been comforted by the expressions of support we have received from all over
the world and in Australia we have been greatly uplifted by the special sense of family we have
from these islands from which so many of us have come.

THERESE REIN: Here is my servant who I uphold, my chosen in whom my soul delights. I have put my
spirit upon him. He will bring forth justice to the nations.

(Sound of a choir)

PENNY DOWNIE: Clench down your strength box tree and ironbark. Break with your violent root the
virgin rock. Draw from the flying dark, its breath of dew until the unliving come to life in you.

GEORGE BROWNING: Here in London the days are lengthening. The signs of spring are all around us and
yet in the Victorian hills, the evenings are now shorter. The temperature is cooler. The immediate
threat has passed and space is emerging for rest and the long haul of restoration has begun.

As we move forward, we take with us the memories of these terrible days and we are changed by the
learning that comes from them. The combination of extreme conditions are more likely to occur in
the future; both in Australia and throughout the world.

We are all more likely to be threatened by extremes of climate.

(Sound of a choir)

ELEANOR HALL: And that report from the London service was put together by our chief political
correspondent, Lyndal Curtis.