Tiki figure of carved New Zealand jade, found in the ashes of Viewfield, a house in Mt. Macedon owned by John and Zelma Gartner, after the Ash Wednesday bushfires of 1983. This is one of the last remnants of a collection of Pacific cultural objects assembled by Zelma Gartner, all of which was lost in the fire. Although the heat of the fire vapourised silver and melted glass, the dark green jade is virtually undamaged.

The small community of Mt Macedon, northwest of Melbourne, was engulfed by bushfire on the night of 16 February, when a late wind change directed the fire from East Trentham up onto the mountain. 7 people died and 628 homes were destroyed in East Trentham and Mt Macedon.

Physical Description

Flat carved jade figure in a stylised human form with inscribed features and two slits near the bottom edge of the figure. There are traces of minor fire damage but the figure is intact.


The Ash Wednesday bushfires of February 1983 were one of Australia's greatest natural disasters, as 'holocaust fires' swept through Victoria and South Australia. In the space of a single day in Victoria, 47 people were killed and nearly 3000 homes and other buildings destroyed. This object, along with others from the same house, demonstrates the severity and extent of the fire in Mt Macedon. It is an eloquent symbol of the destruction of the specific property in which it was found, but it also represents the universal power of fire to irrevocably change objects, homes and lives.

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