Bushfire-damaged camera, which is part of a collection of approximately 25 bushfire affected items retrieved by the donor Matt Parsons from his home in Kinglake in the aftermath of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires. These items represent all that remained of his home and possessions.
The donor commented that 'The camera predates the use of mobile phones and was used to take photos on film. The camera was spotted by a work colleague of mine who came to support me and visit the property after the fires. It seemed somehow still "whole" and recognisable and so it was kept'.
The donor had purchased his home in 2003 and two weeks prior to Black Saturday had become engaged to be married. The collection of burnt artefacts that the donor retrieved represent a range of storylines. Remnants of his hobbies and interests (photography, coin collecting, astronomy, computers), his family history (the piano was previously owned by his grandmother and had survived a bushfire that had threatened Walhalla). Curious and paradoxical examples of how fire impacts homes and possessions: the unharmed tennis ball was the first item the donor found amongst his destroyed belongings, the splash of melted glass covering the surface of the ceramic mug, the unharmed ceramic bowl, the set of house keys. The collection includes video footage of the donor when he first returned to his property following Black Saturday and his emotional response to what he found there.
Matt Parsons kept these items for several years before donating them to Museums Victoria: 'I held onto them because I wanted to hold on to what was lost. However in 2016 I decided to donate them to the museum so that they could be preserved for generations to come. If anything can be learnt, or understood better, because of my donation, then it's a good thing.'
The camera is a physical reminder of the ferocity of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires, and also carries with it a story of recovery: 'The healing process is a long one', reflected Matt in 2018, 'yet donating these objects to the museum helped me to let go and move forward.'
Heat affected metal camera.
Type of item