CANBERRA, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday paid tribute to victims of the country's worst-ever bushfires on its 10th anniversary.
Thursday marked 10 years since the Black Saturday bushfires devastated Victoria, killing 173 people, destroying more than 3,500 buildings and burning more than 450,000 hectares of land.
Morrison acknowledged the "bravery, courage and selflessness" of Australians in response to the tragedy.
"So many women, men and children went about the quiet task of repairing and renewing lives and families that were never quite the same," he told the Australian Associated Press (AAP).
"For countless families, that also took a bravery beyond measure and we remember and honor that too."
Kinglake and Marysville, the two hardest-hit communities, held commemorative services on Thursday to mark the anniversary of the day their towns were decimated.
Bill Shorten, leader of the opposition Australian Labor Party (ALP), said in a statement that the "courage, resilience and community spirit" he witnessed in the wake of Black Saturday would "stay with me forever."
"Today we remember the 173 people who perished in the Black Saturday bushfires and our hearts go out to all those who lost someone they love," he said.
"We think of those Victorian towns whose histories will forever be divided into 'before' and 'after' the trauma of those terrible days in February 2009 and we salute everyone who has fought the long struggle to rebuild their houses and remake their homes."
"In the face of the fire, we were reminded again that truly there is no such thing as an 'ordinary' Australian, amidst the shock and devastation, we saw the very best of our citizens."