Australian stars line up for bushfire victims

Sat Mar 14, 2009 10:02am EDT
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MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Some of the biggest names in Australian music took to the stage on Saturday for the country's largest-ever fund-raising concert and to show support for victims of the nation's bushfires.

More than 100,000 people are estimated to have turned out for the "Sound Relief" concerts, held simultaneously in Sydney and Melbourne.

The concerts took place as authorities said the last of the large fires that ravaged Victoria state last month had finally been brought under control after weeks of fire-fighting efforts.

The bushfires left 210 people dead and 10,000 homeless -- Australia's worst natural disaster in more than a century.

In a special message, Prince William and Prince Harry expressed sympathy for the victims of the fires.

"For those survivors who have lost someone they love, we can only imagine what they are going through," Prince William said. "For them, and for all those left injured and homeless, the tragedy is far from over."

Australian pop diva Kylie Minogue, who flew in specially for the event, also added her support following a minute's silence in memory of the victims.

"I think that the minute's silence probably says more than any of us could say," Minogue said. "I'm so thankful I can make it home tonight and share this with all of you."

Among those performing was Australia's environment minister, Peter Garrett, with his band Midnight Oil, one of three that has specially reunited just for the event.   Continued...

<p>Australia's Environment Minister Peter Garrett performs with his band Midnight Oil during the Sound Relief bushfire benefit concert in Melbourne March 14, 2009. REUTERS/Mick Tsikas</p>