Digital photograph taken by Trevor Boyd on the fire front at Hildebrand Rd, St Andrews, south of Mittons Bridge, on Black Saturday, at 6.02pm, 7 February 2009, while on duty as a CFA volunteer. As 4th Lieutenant in the Plenty CFA brigade he led a tanker during the Black Saturday emergency and attempted to stop the fire front moving towards St Andrews. Trevor had three weeks leave from his paid work to assist in fire defence, searches, fire containment, mopping-up tasks and assisting bushfire survivors. Trevor intended that the CFA use the photos he took during the day as a teaching tool to develop volunteer firefighters situational awareness, and assist in their capacity to interpret, observe and redirect.

This photograph is one of ten images that Trevor offered as part of the community-led 'Bushfire Photo Exhibition' at the Bridges Restaurant/Nursery, Hurstbridge, held between February and March 2010. It is also published in the book 'Footsteps in the Ash' which documents St Andrews' and Strathewen's experiences during Black Saturday.

Description of Content

This photograph shows a burning tree (that had been used as a telephone pole). Taken half an hour after the fire storm had passed over the area, it evokes the powerful force of fire combined with strong wind and a drought affected environment. Embers escape the burning trunk, creating a firework effect, showing the velocity of the wind. The photograph was taken at the intersection of Hildebrand Rd looking east towards St Andrews. Trevor recalled that it was a 'spectacular image with the fire coming out (of the tree), (the surroundings) turned to dark for at least an hour'. (Interview, Trevor Boyd) As Trevor was looking at this flaming tree, he was planning the next action for the team, assisting in fighting fires further down the road. The next fire fighting event involved a car and residence. Trevor's team was required to clear a fallen, flaming tree from the road, whilst en-route to save the house. Trevor commented that there was 'such massive destruction over such a short period of time, where it would normally take hours for a fire to take such a hold, but it was only half an hour after the firestorm.' (Interview, Trevor Boyd, 12 May 2009)

Physical Description

Digital photograph.


The bushfires of Black Saturday, 7 February 2009 caused significant damage to personal, community and state infrastructure. The capturing of images of burning trees evokes the dramatic atmospheric and visual changes associated with natural disasters, and, the surprising beauty found within these moments. These images reveal and document the photographers own experience of the fires, imbuing each image with the personal reflection of a significant historical moment.

Historical significance is embedded in the image as it reflects a moment in time when destruction was imminent, and, allows the photographer to reveal an individual interpretation of the direct impact of a bushfire. Inclusion in the 'The Bushfire Photo Exhibition', held at Hurstbridge between February and March 2010, and, as one of nineteen pictures chosen to be published in the book 'Footsteps in the Ash' adds to this photo's historical significance.

The publication 'Footsteps in the Ash' can be seen as both an intimate and authentic account of the events of Black Saturday, experienced within the St Andrews and Strathewen communities by documenting this photographers personal experience during the fires.

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