Victorians will never forget the devastation of Black Saturday, instead embracing its anniversary as a symbol of courage, hope and profound sorrow.
The bushfires, six years ago on Saturday, claimed 173 lives and destroyed countless homes and businesses.
Emergency Services Minister Jane Garrett says the anniversary of the 2009 tragedy is a painful and difficult day for the state.
“We remember those lives and we also stand with the families and loved ones of those that are left,” she told reporters on Saturday.
Ms Garrett said Victoria learned a lot from the devastating fires, especially the extent of community courage.
“How people have pulled together, how they have comforted each other, how they have walked the walk has been quite remarkable,” she said.
“I think the other major issue we have learnt from is how we do our emergency services.”
Ms Garrett met with emergency management commissioner Craig Lapsley and emergency services personnel at the state’s control centre on Friday night to mark the anniversary.
The Black Saturday anniversary has previously been honoured with public memorials but in 2015 affected communities preferred to grieve privately.
Parliament will pause to reflect the occasion when it sits next week.