These keys are part collection of approximately 25 bushfire affected items retrieved by the donor from his home at Keith Street, Kinglake, on Wednesday 11 February 2009, five days after Black Saturday. They represent all that remains of his home and possessions.
The donor commented on these keys: 'The keys were on my key ring. They include the house keys and a key to a steering wheel club lock. Looking at them now, one of them might have been a key to a case or a pad lock. I can't really remember now. I kept the keys because they reminded me of my home that I no longer had. The keys opened locks to doors that no longer existed. The doors, windows, interior walls and doors were all gone after the fires went through. I kept the keys because I just couldn't contemplate letting go of them'.
The collection includes: an untouched tennis ball, a ceramic kitchen canister with coins (the canister was used as a vessel to collect the burnt remains of the donor's coin collection), lens of a telescope, the feet of a piano and piano stool (7 parts), marbles, computer hard drives (3), SLR camera, horse figurine, ceramic bowls and mugs with melted glass fragments on surface, house keys, DVD of donor when he first visited the site five days after Black Saturday.
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.
The 2009 Victorian Bushfires began in late January and culminated on Black Saturday, 7 February. This remains Australia's most deadly natural disaster. 400 fires were recorded in over 100 locations across Victoria. 173 people were killed, 414 were injured. Over 3,400 properties were destroyed or damaged. Over 10,000 km of fences were burnt and more than 11,000 farm animals were killed or injured. Nearly 430,000 hectares of land were razed, and more than 1 million native animals perished. In terms of Victoria's public lands over 287,000 hectares was burnt, including almost 100,000 hectares of national and state parks and reserves, and nearly 170,000 hectares of state forests and reserves. The fires devastated the Ash Forest through the Central Highlands. The most severely affected parks were Kinglake National Park, Wilsons Promontory National Park, Bunyip State Park, Cathedral Range State Park, and Yarra Ranges National Park.
These items contribute to the Victorian Bushfires Collection, and complement those stories and artefacts that document the impact of the bushfire on Kinglake. The Victorian Bushfires Collection was established following Black Saturday and includes a multi-disciplinary collection of artefacts, images and stories that record the experience and impact of bushfires across Victoria's landscape, ecology and history.
Seven house keys.
Type of item