An unprecedented outpouring of grief began today over Victoria's devastating bushfires with a phone call from a resident bringing Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to church.
Described by Rudd as "a persistent lady," Rose Dove telephoned Canberra on Friday and invited him to the memorial service to ease the sense of desolation engulfing the tight-knit community.
For the first time since the Kinglake complex fire swept through the small town north of Melbourne just over one week ago, hundreds of residents gathered for an open-air service in a mark of solidarity and reflection.
The inferno that tore through Wandong destroyed 200 homes, with three people perishing in the flames.
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At nearby Whittlesea, Governor General Quentin Bryce and her husband Michael attended a service at the Anglican Christ Church, along with more than 300 locals, firefighters and relief workers.
In Melbourne, several hundred people from 17 Christian churches across the city converged in the Fitzroy Gardens after their morning services, praying for those who died in the fires and those who lost their homes.