Anne Leadbeater was awarded an Order of Australia OAM for services to the community following the 2019 bushfires, and is a fellow of the EMPA (Emergency Media and Public Affairs).[1]

Anne Leadbeater

Alma materRMIT University
Known forTrauma recovery after bushfires

She was acknowledged for her community leadership in recovering from fires, in the aftermath of Black Saturday [2] and she is a national expert on leading recovery for communities who have experienced trauma, particularly from bushfire and are seeking different ways to move forward.[3][4][5][6] She works with communities who are recovering from fire, drought, flood and cyclone in various states in Australia including Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia. In 2014, she led an international team working with the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal for New Zealand Red Cross.[5][7]

Black Saturday bushfires and recoveryEdit

On 2009 Saturday 7 February the Black Saturday bushfires occurred in Victoria, Australian, and 137 people were killed.[5]

In Leadbeater's community, at 4:20 pm fire came, and no warnings were issued. On that day, in her community 27 people died and 85 of the 130 houses were destroyed in a community with a population of 200 people.[8]

Her community was involved in the Strathewen Community Renewal Association (SCRA). The SCRA was awarded the national prize, in 2010, for the volunteer section of the Australian Safer Communities Awards.  The SCRA was awarded the prize for representing the best practice of ‘bottom-up’, community-led recovery.[9]

Career and community contributionsEdit

Leadbeater is currently director of "Disaster Recovery Group Leadbeater".[9] She was a community development leader within Murrindindi before and after the Black Saturday bushfires [10] and specialises in recovery from trauma and disaster.[5][11][12]

Leadbeater’s research has focussed on community rebuilding after fire, including how there was a desire for people to be resilient, yet due to the fire, all were equally disempowered.[13]

She has written a review on resilience following disaster, called the “Community Recovery Handbook for the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience”.[14]

Leadbeater quotes “Decisions made by outsiders should not be imposed or forced upon a community; they need to be able to come to their own decisions in their own time. Surely that principle is doubly true of a disaster-affected community.”[15] Leadbeater has described how healthy strategies from recovery from fire can include psychological recovery as well as building structures.

“Coupled with the well-intentioned desire to relieve peoples’ sadness by fixing stuff and building stuff, it’s not hard to get caught up in a ‘fast equals effective’ bricks and mortar view of recovery”.[16]

She has been involved in community connectedness and how frequency of moving affects disaster recovery, in a project with the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC.[17][18]


In 2007 Leadbeater enrolled in studied for the first time, at RMIT where she obtained a Master of Social Sciences.[11]

Awards and recognitionEdit

  • 2019 - Keynote address at the International Association of Wildland fire.[19]
  • 2009 - Bartercard local hero award.[20]
  • 2009 - Order of Australia.[21]
  • 2011 - Vice Chancellor's List for Academic Excellence.


  1. ^ "EMPA Fellows". Retrieved 2019-09-14.
  2. ^ "Australian Business Round Table" (PDF).
  3. ^ "AJEM Jul 2013 - Community leadership in disaster recovery: a case study | Australian Disaster Resilience Knowledge Hub". Retrieved 2019-09-14.
  4. ^ "Trauma experts release Black Saturday podcast". 2019-01-30. Retrieved 2019-09-14.
  5. ^ a b c d Services, Department of Health & Human. "Trauma - Anne Leadbeater OAM & Dr Rob Gordon". Retrieved 2019-09-14.
  6. ^ "Trauma specialist says Black Saturday survivors still grieving". 2010-02-05. Retrieved 2019-09-14.
  7. ^ Campbell, Ian. "BEGA VALLEY BUSHFIRE PODCAST – Disaster recovery takes time". About Regional. Retrieved 2019-09-14.
  8. ^ "AustII" (PDF).
  9. ^ a b "AJEM Jul 2013 - Community leadership in disaster recovery: a case study | Australian Disaster Resilience Knowledge Hub". Retrieved 2019-09-14.
  10. ^ "Research Bank RMIT" (PDF).
  11. ^ a b "Tales from the Trenches with Anne Leadbeater". Retrieved 2019-09-14.
  12. ^ "Putting order into the chaos of a natural disaster". 2015-10-12. Retrieved 2019-09-14.
  13. ^ "Research Bank RMIT" (PDF).
  14. ^ "AFAC powered by INTERSCHUTZ". AFAC. Retrieved 2019-09-14.
  15. ^ "Barton. PDF" (PDF).
  16. ^ "Aus Bus Round Table" (PDF).
  17. ^ "Anne leadbeater | Bushfire & Natural Hazards CRC". Retrieved 2019-09-14.
  18. ^ "Federation - Community Leadership" (PDF).
  19. ^ "Global fire focus on diversity, cultural burning and communities | Bushfire & Natural Hazards CRC". Retrieved 2019-09-14.
  20. ^ "Previous Finalists | Awards Australia". Retrieved 2019-09-14.
  21. ^ "AJEM Apr 2013 - 2013 Australia Day Honours | Australian Disaster Resilience Knowledge Hub". Retrieved 2019-09-14.