Gift for a patient in the Burns Unit of The Alfred, a survivor of the February 2009 bushfires.

In the aftermath of Black Saturday, the newspapers were full of stories of people caught in the bushfires and of those caring for them. On February 15, The Age ran an article by journalist Jill Stark titled 'Hope and Healing' profiling the work of the Burns Unit at The Alfred. It opened with the story of an unidentified man, a resident of Kinglake West, who received burns to 40% of his body on 7 February 2009. The article describes the labourious and painful process of treating his extensive injuries, 'but there is worse pain to come.' His partner and two of their children died in Kinglake, and their third child died of her injuries four days later.

A. Barclay sent a brief note to the staff of the Burns Unit, asking them to pass on the enclosed card to the injured man. The message in the card read 'Your story touched me deeply. May this small token help you in some small way. Never give up.' and it contained a small semi-precious stone for courage. The patient survived his burns; he was in a medically induced coma for four weeks and sustained permanent damage to his feet as a result of trying to carry his children to safety.

Also included were a letter (HT 26516.1) and a card with envelope (HT 26516)

Physical Description

Aquamarine mounted on business-card-size paper with attached envelope. On the card is a picture of three angels on a cloud blowing trumpets.


This was one of many gifts 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 know their names.

More Information