A national day of mourning has been observed in Australia for those who died in the country’s worst bushfires in living memory.
A total of 209 people died when the flames swept across the state of Victoria. Many of the victims perished on February 7, a day that has become known as Black Saturday.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd led the ceremony of remembrance in Melbourne. Princess Anne was there on behalf of the Queen
Many in the congregation had to be bussed in from small towns and villages stricken by the fires, having lost their cars as well as their homes to the flames.
Australia has launched its biggest ever arson investigation into the cause of the fires. One man has already been charged with starting one of the blazes and arson is suspected in at least one other case.
The bushfires destroyed hundreds of properties and left thousands of people homeless.