Summary

Photograph of a home made sign with the slogan 'U Loot I Shoot'. The original sign was collected by Museum Victoria from the burnt-out home of Harry & Norma Coomber, Tarra Valley Road, Devon North, which had been destroyed by the Devon North bushfire on Black Saturday 7 February 2009.

This sign was created by the donors' son, Rod Coomber. On Sunday 8th February he was sorting through the remains of his parents' home and made the remarkable discovery of the unbroken crockery set from their dining room. He left to collect a box from a neighbour's home, when he returned just 20 minutes later, he witnessed someone driving off with the stolen crockery set.

Rod Coomber used charcoal from the burnt remains of his parent's home and a bit of scrap metal to create this sign as a warning to looters, and hung it on the unburnt white picket fence. He camped on the site that night, with a gun, and observed a number of cars without headlights surveying the burnt home sites in the early hours.

This sign forms part of the Victorian Bushfires Collection which also includes an oral and video interview with Harry and Norma Coomber.

Description of Content

Home-made sign with the slogan 'U Loot I Shoot', attached to the fence of thye burnt-out home of Harry & Norma Coomber, Tarra Valley Road, Devon North, which had been destroyed by the Devon North bushfire on Black Saturday 7 February 2009.

Physical Description

Digital image.

Significance

This sign was collected from the ruins of one of the eight homes destroyed in Devon North, by the 7th February 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.

The looting of the precious remains of burn-out homes was a theme that spread across the Victorian bushfire-affected areas, and compounded the trauma experienced by bushfire survivors and their families. The power of this sign is evident from its very fabric - the text is applied with the charcoal from the site and clearly reveals the fury of the writer, and the metal tin is from the ruins of the burnt remains of this family home.

The experience and reaction to bushfires touches on, and gives expression to, every human emotion and every spectrum of the human character. This sign reveals the darker edge of our society in times of crisis. It is in graphic contrast to the extraordinary generosity of spirit shown by those who volunteered their time and resources to support those in need following Black Saturday.

This sign and its story attracted significant media coverage, and featured on a number of internet blogs.

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