Anita Norris, local resident and professional wildlife photographer, took this image on her property at Brennans Road East, Arthurs Creek, during the Black Saturday Bushfires at 4.09pm on Saturday 7th February, 2009. While her partner was fighting fires on the day as a CFA volunteer, Anita was at home with her dogs, constantly keeping an eye on their property and surrounds. Anita visually documented the volatile changes she witnessed on Black Saturday, and the impact it had on her neighbourhood in the days following.

Anita offered this photograph, along with another eleven images, for inclusion in the community-led Bushfire Photo Exhibition, which featured thirty-five local photographs, at the Bridges Restaurant/Nursery, Hurstbridge, held between February and March 2010. She was responsible for curating this event and instrumental in making it the success it was. This image was also published in the book 'Footsteps in the Ash' which documents St Andrews' and Strathewen's experiences during Black Saturday. This image is part of the the Victorian Bushfire Collection and is supported by an interview undertaken with Anita Norris.

Description of Content

This digital colour photograph was taken by Anita from her property on Black Saturday, 7th February, 2009. The image shows fires burning on Mount Sugarloaf. The green trees in the foreground bend and twist in the hot strong wind, grey smoke obscures Mount Sugarloaf near her property, but the intense red of the flame gives an illusion of fire in the sky. The image illustrates just how close the fire was in relation to Anita's home as well as the physical nature of bushfire and the extreme weather conditions on that day.

Physical Description

Digital photograph.


The bushfires of Black Saturday, 7 February 2009, caused significant loss of life and damage to personal and community property, and state infrastructure - and became the worst bushfire disaster in Australia's history. The Kilmore East fire swept over Mount Sugarloaf on Black Saturday destroying most of the small settlement of Strathewen and causing the largest loss of life of any community in Victoria. Despite the high death toll and widespread devastation, an astonishing number of creative projects have arisen to give comfort and help in the recovery efforts. This photograph is one of many that were used in a local photographic display and a publication which documented the many stories of loss and survival.

The image captures the dramatic atmospheric and visual changes associated with natural disasters and the surprising beauty found within these moments. It represents how the effects of fire can be experienced via a great distance from the source highlighted by thick smoke and atmospheric changes, The image reveals resident's personal experiences including threats to personal safety and confronting challenges in deciding actions to take under stressful situations. It is an important and rare document of the photographer's personal experience as a local resident during Black Saturday.

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