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Victorian Bushfires Collection
Victorian Bushfires Collection was initiated in 2009 following the Black Saturday bushfires. It is a diverse and cross-disciplinary collection and includes nearly 1000 items ranging from artwork, natural science specimens, photographs, videos and interviews, to everyday objects that were melted or destroyed by fire. The Victorian Bushfires Collection is an active collecting project and will continue to document major bushfires in Victoria.
The Victorian Bushfires Collection was established in the days and weeks following the February 2009 Black Saturday Bushfires. The Victorian Bushfires Collection is an ongoing project and involves the collection of stories, images and objects that document the impact of the February 2009 bushfires, the community response, the aftermath and the process of recovery and renewal. While the immediate focus is on 2009, the collection also documents previous Victorian bushfires. Museum Victoria hopes this diverse and cross-disciplinary collection will lead to greater public understanding of bushfires, how they have shaped the history and landscape of Victoria, and will continue to do so. An important aim of this collecting project is to contribute to civic healing through active community participation, commemoration and the sharing of stories. The collection includes bushfire-damaged objects, emergency services equipment, oral histories, artwork, photographs, videos, natural science specimens, and material from public education campaigns. The first items to come into the collection were from people directly impacted by the 2009 bushfires: a melted coin collection, general household objects transformed by the fire (slumped glass, bent golf clubs, melted alloy wheels, twisted remains of a child's bike), burnt and blackened fence posts, photographs and video of Black Saturday. Key items in the collection include: a letter written in 1851 that talks about the experience of Victoria's first major bushfire; over 80 interviews from nearly all of the 2009 bushfire affected areas, including the personal recollections from a 101 year old woman who lived through the 1919, 1939 and 2009 bushfires; a burnt-out 1950 FX Holden, part of a collection of vintage motor cars destroyed in the Churchill fire; a chimney from Kinglake, all that remained of the nineteenth-century homestead 'The Uplands'; burned and melted domestic objects, from a Box Brownie camera to a child's bicycle; birds that 'fell out of the sky' during the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires; 'Black Saturday', a painting of Marysville by Glenn Morgan; 'Sam the Koala'; material relating to the endangered Leadbeater's Possum, Victoria's state faunal emblem; cards and posters sent to patients and staff at the Alfred Hospital Burns Unit. The collection offers rich research opportunities, including: the lived experience of fire across Victoria; community and government attitudes to bushfire; the cultural response to bushfire; natural resource management; wildlife rescue; the role of volunteers, schools and communities; the role of media following disasters; bushfire education and response; the complex and ongoing trauma following disasters; geographic diversity of experience; climate change; fire preparation and response; house design and urban planning; emergency response and changes in technologies and methods; the role of art and symbols in healing; memorialising of history; community participation in contemporary collecting; use of oral history to document major disasters; conservation of bushfire affected collections; and the role of museums following natural disasters. The collection will continue to grow as it documents the reconstruction efforts, changing patterns of bushfire response and the effect of climate change on how we understand and engage with the difficult and inevitable reality of bushfire.
Please direct access requests via Museum Victoria's Discovery Centre http://museumvictoria.com.au/discoverycentre/ask-us-a-question/collection-access-/
1851-2010; Ash Wednesday Bushfires, 1983; Australian Native Animals; Black Friday Bushfires, 1939; Black Saturday Bushfires, 2009; Black Thursday Bushfires, 1851; Bushfire Prevention; Bushfires; Climate Change; Community Organisations; Death & Mourning; Domestic life; Emergency Services; Environmental Issues; Fire Brigades; Fire Fighters; Fire Safety; Forestry; Government Policies; Natural Disasters; Natural Environment; Ruins; Rural Landscapes; Rural Life; Rural Victoria; Safety Campaigns; Sustainability; Tourism; Volunteers; Wildlife; Wildlife Rescue
Victoria, Australia; Marysville, Victoria, Australia; Churchhill, Victoria, Australia; Kinglake, Victoria, Australia