Green plastic bucket, deformed by heat, which was Bill Putt's last line of defence on Black Saturday, 7 February 2009. He was well prepared to defend his mud-brick home in Strathewen but the Kilmore East fire that came over Sugarloaf Hill overwhelmed his defences. The pumps failed, the hoses burnt and the line of buckets was reduced to this one bucket. When Bill dashed out from his house to put out a spot fire with it, the radiant heat from the fire melted it into this shape. He continued to put out spot fires on the house using the bucket and water stored in an old spa bath, keeping up the effort until the fire front passed. The house - and his life - were saved but he lost several outbuildings, including studios, sheds, and the chicken coop and its inhabitants.

Physical Description

Green plastic garden bucket, melted on one side and missing the handle. The spout is still visible. Traces of dried mud adhere to the surface.


There was a narrow line between life and death in the bushfires of February 2009. This bucket was all that Bill Putt had left to fight the spot fires around his house after the Kilmore East fire swept through Strathewen on Black Saturday and destroyed all his other fire-fighting equipment. He believes that it saved his house and his life. It symbolises the experience of many other people on Black Saturday who desperately defended their homes with whatever was available to them after their conventional defences were destroyed. Many of those people did not survive.

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