Tathra Strong Community Gathering | Bega Valley Community Engagement

What an incredible day at the Tathra Strong community event that Fortem was honoured to be a part of! On Saturday 6th March, the local community was treated to a fun-filled family-friendly afternoon, held at the Tathra RFS Brigade station. There was so much connection and laughter shared amongst a community that has been through so much together. The kids painted, jumped and interacted with the mini zoo, with the ‘big hit’ of the day being target practice involving the fire hose! The atmosphere was festive with live music, a delicious BBQ & goodies, and to end the great afternoon was the excitement of popcorn and the outdoor movie.

The township of Tathra was devastated by the 2018 bushfires. Over the last three years, the community has remained strong and continued to support each other through some very difficult times. The hashtag #tathrastrong continues to be a focus for the community and is also the name of a community Facebook group for Tathra.

The Tathra Strong event came from the community need for connection, support and an opportunity to show the RFS as a place where mateship and resilience are promoted and celebrated. The Tathra Strong community gathering was a successful day for people to connect and to provide informal wellbeing support. The feedback throughout the event was positive and highlighted the joy and connection from the families who attended.

Thank you to photographer Areli Bosson, for supporting us to capture the amazing memories featured here. These are just a sample of the fun that was had, please find a gallery of photos here.


This amazing community event was made possible with collaboration with many local businesses and organisations, along with our event partners Bega Valley Shire Council and COORDINARE, who fund projects that support social connection, physical and mental health for community lead recovery and resilience.

Fortem Australia support first responders and their families, provide activities and services that focus on mental fitness through connection, cohesion, engagement and support. Fortem Australia has been working with Tathra RFS and their families.

The partnership between Fortem Australia and Bega Valley Shire Council provided community members with information about other support available, wellbeing support throughout the event and enhanced the connection with community members at an individual level as well as helping community groups.

Catering by local businesses included meat from Tathra butcher, and bread and rolls donated by Tathra Bakery brought together in a delicious BBQ staffed by the Tathra Lions Club. Also enjoyed were almond croissants from Blend Café, and vegie focaccias from The Gap.

There were also some interesting displays by Tathra Community Garden and Tathra Preschool.


Very popular were the friendly frog, snake and lizard from Tiny Zoo, who roamed around the event making friends! The kids loved the jumping castle. There were games to play. Later on the movie was accompanied by freshly made popcorn! Some classic crafting kept the kids amused, with painting and Spud Decorating. Yes, potatoes were bedazzled and lots of little ‘potato people’ appeared around the shed – some wonderful creations.


There were plenty of smiles (and a few wet adults!) when the kids lined up to shoot the witches hats down with the fire hose for target practice. Tathra RFS Captain Adam Wiggins helped the kids to aim with the hose… and there were a few jokes that he was taking notes to see who would be good to recruit to the brigade in the future! Don’t forget you can find more photos here.


Paint everywhere! Lots of paint and creativity was on display with the artistic contributions to the Tathra banner, which will be entered by Tathra Chamber of Commerce into the Bega Chamber of Commerce banner competition. If Tathra wins, they will be donating the prize money to the RFS. The kids enthusiastically added to the banner with handprints, whales and love hearts.


The power of thank you was shown through this heartfelt and gorgeous display, which grew throughout the afternoon, as more photos and messages were added.


The event was well attended by local preschool aged families. We had engaged with them in the lead up to the event, working with them to create a collaborative mural of their town. This was a beautiful demonstration of how communities connect and create meaningfully together, and was definitely reflected in their engagement on the day.

Such a great range of activities for the kids was one highlight, allowing parents to chat and interact with other local families. People from the local communities were able to spend some time away from their everyday tasks, to meet other people and find out more about their own area.

It was also an opportunity to meet the local first responders. One of the attendees commented how great it was to be able to visit the fire shed on such a positive occasion, how it was so good to familiarise their family with the space and the members; feel connected to the RFS as a community member.

It was a real team effort to bring the Tathra Strong Community Gathering together, with a final demonstration of the teamwork when deflating the jumping castle – the council staff, Fortem team and RFS members rolling and stomping together to get the air out.

Fortem services, programs, activities, events and community engagements aim to support the mental fitness of our first responder families. Read more about Our Approach.
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