Follow this Blog in your Email!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Victorian Bushfires

Still Standing

The world has no doubt been made aware of the bushfires that have ravaged this beautiful state of Victoria, leaving over 750 homes destroyed, hundreds of thousands of hectares of land burnt and charred and nearly 200 precious lives lost. It is without doubt one of Australia's saddest times. My heart goes out to all those who have lost much this past weekend, especially to those who have lost friends and family in this disaster. May you be granted peace and consolation.
My sister and her family live in the Yarra Valley and had their property ravaged by fire. Thankfully their house was saved and they suffered no damage to their health in any way. They lost a watertank and fencing and their pastures are blackened from the fire that raced mercilessly across their property.Their two beautiful Friesian horses, their sheds and their home were not damaged in any real way. But it came very close.
This image (above) gives you some idea just how close they came to losing their home...

My son, Nathan and I went up there as soon as we could. I live about an hour and a quarter away from my sister so we were already at a disadvantage. Arriving in the district, we had to sweet talk our way through roadblocks that would let us pass so we could access the area to help in whatever way we could. Naturally by the time we were able to get through the worst of the fires had passed, leaving its black scar on the landscape and its contents. The photojournalist in me also could not help but photograph what time allowed me to capture.
By the side of the road we saw homes, completely destroyed, others spared by only metres from imminent destruction. Near roadside fences we saw bloated and burnt livestock so heated in the passing cataclysm that their contents literally exploded from inside them. There were calves still in their amniotic sacs that had literally burst through the skins of their dying mothers. I had never seen the like of it before. The image posted above is among the least offensive I could have placed. There are others I felt would have been to much for some to see. They must have suffered so terribly.
The title image to this post is of my sister's family home, still standing. The smoky sunset over it was a perfect context of light to take the image above that begins this post. I felt was a testament to their hard work and bravery of my sister, her husband, her two sons and one of their girlfriends as they fought together to save the house, my niece and her baby who huddled inside and themselves. I wish I could have been there to see it and to fight alongside. I believe it would have been a moment I would have been very proud of and remind me of the honour it is to be a member of my amazing family.

No comments:

The Life, Times and Images of photographer, Shelton Muller

Images on this blog are copyright Shelton Muller