On 18 January 2003, Canberra experienced the most devastating bushfire in its history. Catastrophic conditions created a firestorm that destroyed over 500 homes, injured hundreds, and saw four people lose their lives. This included 74-year-old Peter Brabazon Brooke.
Peter's son, Garry Brooke, has generously pledged $1 million to The Australian National University (ANU), to establish the Peter Brabazon Brooke Bushfire Research Fund in memory of his late father and all victims of bushfires in Australia.
"[I felt] a need to contribute to work on bushfires," says Garry. "The best a donor can achieve is to make a difference - and I hope my donation enables things to be done that wouldn't have been possible otherwise."
The objective of the Peter Brabazon Brooke Bushfire Research Fund is to increase both practical and theoretical understanding of bushfires. With ferocious bushfires increasing in frequency, enabling this research is more important than ever.
"Right now is a crucial time for research into bushfires," says Garry. "Australia may be heading for a turn of climate, towards drought, and that brings an increased risk of bushfires. I think research will help us prepare for that risk.
"The more I have talked with the researchers, the happier I feel about my donation. In practical terms, it was quite easy to make the donation - it is the researchers and developers who now have the hard work achieving results. But, I hope that my donation makes that work a little easier."