Sympathy card created by Billy, a student at Bulleen Heights School, for patients in the Burns Unit of The Alfred hospital in Melbourne in the days following Black Saturday in February 2009. Like many people throughout Australia and the world, the students at Bulleen Heights were affected by the bushfire stories seen on the media, and decided to make and send cards to the staff at the Burns Unit to be passed on to patients. Bulleen Heights School is a specialist school for children with autism spectrum disorder and Billy was in Grade 9 when he made this card using a computer program for children with disabilities called Board-Maker. It is part of a collection of cards, letters and gifts donated by The Alfred that show the outpouring of support to survivors of Black Saturday.

Physical Description

Yellow card folded in half with a drawing on the front of a smiling face in red texta surrounded by wavy lines in brown texta. On the inside a piece of white paper has been pasted with a printed message combining words and pictograms created by computer software designed to assist children with disabilities. The words are in black and the images are pink, beige, blue and yellow. The signature at the bottom is hand-printed in pencil.


This card of one of many that were received by The Alfred hospital in the days following the bushfires of February 2009. People around the world responded to the crisis with donations of money and material aid but they also wanted to express personal messages of hope and support directly to the people involved. The Burns Unit, as one of the major hospital services receiving victims of the bushfires, was swamped with cards, letters and gifts not only for the patients but also for the staff of the Unit. This collection illustrates the power of the media in conveying the effects of the fires, but more importantly it demonstrates people's need to connect directly with the victims and their carers, regardless of whether they even knew their names.

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