12 Months On - an Exhibition of Community Images

Shire of Mundaring and City of Swan respectfully acknowledged 1 February 2022 as twelve months since the Wooroloo Bushfire.

This significant date was marked by a number of reflective events for those affected by the fire, beginning with an exhibition titled ‘12 Months On – an Exhibition of Community Images’. The exhibition opened at Wooroloo Hall on Friday 28 January. 

The exhibition then moved to the Gidgegannup Agricultural Hall for the following weekend (Friday 4 February to Sunday 6 February). 

Fifty-two images were on display, representative of the 52 weeks of the community's recovery journey.

A gallery of all images is below. More details about each image are provided under the gallery.

It was never going to be a normal day

Photographer: Bronwyn & Ken (Snow) Hammond

Date: 1 February 2021

Monday February 1st 2021 was never going to be a normal day. We woke to the start of a snap COVID-19 lockdown.  

Snow got up early to put on a load of washing and the last load of plums into the Vacola. I started to prepare to travel to the Pilbara the following day. 

The first change happened around 9am when Port Hedland Airport announced it was closing to all but emergency aircraft. My morning was then consumed rescheduling my week!

Washing in, house secured…

Photographer: Bronwyn & Ken Hammond

Date: 1 February 2021

I finally got away from my desk just before noon, in time to turn off the Vacola and bring the washing in before making some lunch.

Whilst at the washing line I noticed what I thought was dust. I stopped momentarily to work out what was stirring up the horses next door. I quickly realized the dust was in fact smoke…

Being a hot and windy day we knew this was serious but thought we were safe.

Not home…

Message Recipient: Karen Fanderlinden

Date: 1 February

It was about midday on the 1st Feb, I was at the checkout in Woolies Mundaring when my neighbour rang to alert me about the fire which was in my bottom paddock, she said her and hubby were going to cut the fence to get my horses out. 

My daughter was at home getting ready to return to work, she was inside and unaware of the fire. I rang her, she ran outside, saw the fire and hung up. 

I paid for my shopping and as I drove home the smoke was darker and thicker.  I was stopped at the road block approx 100 metres from my driveway and was not allowed in. I felt helpless as I saw the black smoke engulf the surrounds of my house and neighbouring properties. 

Burning in the distance

Photographer: Ayden Stenton

Date: 1 February 2021

Taken from the Glen Forrest 1:4* on the way to the West Gidgegannup for the first crew change of many at the Wooroloo bushfire.

*A 1:4 is a fire truck with a 1,000 litre capacity and is 4-wheel drive.

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View of Noble Falls

Photographer: Aleesha Edmunds

Date: 1 February 2021

Looking towards Noble Falls from the Gidge One Stop at approximately 3:30pm on Monday 1st February. 

Cars weren’t permitted eastbound any further than the One Stop, and the photo shows people evacuating westbound from Tilden Park.

Fitbit tells a story

Wearer: Bronwyn Hammond

Date: 1 February 2021

It is only later when you have time to reflect that you realise just how much stress and strain the fire puts on your body.

After eight hours and 10,000l of water we finally got a break for a feed and a well-deserved shower.  

Sleep came in shifts just in case the situation changed.  We were exhausted but safe. Everything was still intact and all the animals were safe and secure.

Exhaustion

Photographer: Karen Fanderlinden

Date: 1 February 2021

I spent the afternoon and evening at my friends place in Chidlow, keeping tabs on the fire. 

I was very fortunate to be able to return home at about 11.30 pm. I'll never forget the devastation I saw when I was driven home. I was so relieved to see Skye, she was totally exhausted. We chatted for half an hour, then she lay on the floor and slept for about 6 hours.

3km south

Photographer: Nicky Marlow

Date: 1 February 2021

Gidgegannup artist Jan Pittman was sent this picture by her friend Nicky. As alluded to by the title, Nicky's property is 3km south of Gidgegannup. 

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60km away from Marangaroo

Photographer: Derek Baker

Date: 1 February 2021

These photos are from Marangaroo which is 60kms away from Wooroloo.

I have no connection with the area, I was just amazed at the heat and smoke from the fire.

Tilden Park

Photographer: David Massie

Date: 1 February 2021

The fire burnt all afternoon and all night in Tilden. 

After saving our house this photo was taken from our verandah and shows the ridge along Falls Heights and Noble Falls Reserve still burning at 10.35pm.

Fire under stars

Photographer: Sara Botten

Date: 1 February 2021

This photo was taken in West Gidgegannup at 9:00pm on Monday 1st February 2021.

After a long afternoon watching the initial fire grow and move towards Gidgegannup the night was spent under the stars watching it travel like a dragon up the valley to the north of us. 

By morning it was in Bullsbrook… 

The universe certainly has a sense of humour

Photographer: Barbara Laurin

Date: February 2021

This sign in our driveway survived, while all around was burnt.

No shower so taking a bath

Photographer: Barbara Laurin

Date: February 2021

Thank you to Alex for letting us share this private picture.

We could have shared him “making lemonade when life gave him lemons” (painting the fallen blackened tree in front of the house) but we loved the practicality of this shot.  

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No water

Photographer: Maureen Williams

Date: 7 February 2021

Our first visit to our property was emotionally devastating – 48 acres of blackened land. 

Five water tanks damaged beyond repair.

There was very little left standing and even less to salvage. It was very surreal and still is, but we are alive. 

Car for sale

Photographer: Maureen Williams

Date: 7 February 2021

I had planned to sell my car!  

This shed also contained lots of our ‘play’ items – the motorised golf cart, clubs, canoes and other ‘stuff’ that we would get around to using one day!

First sight of our home

Photographer: Kirstine Kelleher

Date: 3 February 2021

This was our first view of our destroyed home, a couple of days after the fire.

Absolutely nothing inside the house survived.

Before and after

Photographer: Maureen Williams

Date: 7 February 2021

We had a wonderful house on our bush property in Gidgegannup. This view from our lounge was outstanding for observing the animals and birds and the feeling when just sitting was one of sheer relaxation.

The second photo shows the outside view of the same room after the fire.

We remain grateful however that we spent many cherished years here and have indelible memories of special events and party's including many milestone family birthdays.

Sunrise 

Photographer: Barbara Laurin

Date: 4 February 2021

Sunrise with the smoke in the air turning the light to pink. 

My daughter’s house is smouldering in the background.

Ash sunrise

Photographer: David Massie

Date: 3 February 2021

Two days after the fire walking the dogs. 

The bush is still hot and we keep to the tracks, the dogs are subdued and walk slowly with heads lowered.

No words, tools

Photographer: Joel Robins

Date: February 2021

No words, cars

Photographer: Joel Robins

Date: February 2021

No words, flames

Photographer: Joel Robins

Date: February 2021

No words, morning

Photographer: Joel Robins

Date: February 2021

Demolition

Photographer: Maureen Williams

Date: 30 June 2021

Demolition underway, part of our roof is headed to the trucks. 

What an amazing process it was for all of the demolition and removal to happen.  

The rain frustrated the workers and residents however without this physical and financial assistance we could not envisage rebuilding.

All gone...

Photographer: Maureen Williams

Date: 20 July 2021

It was a day of celebration as we stood on the pad with all signs of the burnt house removed.

Quilts for recovery

Photographer: Maureen Williams

Date: 22 September 2021

We had to take a photo of this amazing quilt so that we could choose the correct colours for one of our bedrooms in our new build.

This quilt of course came from wonderful donations by quilters from around Western Australia and Australia.

The main event was organised by local community people earlier in the year. We felt truly humbled by this fantastic initiative and have to acknowledge the skill of these quilters along with their generosity.

Quilts for Wooroloo Fire Recovery

Project Coordinator: Fleur Adams

The project objective was to have at least 200 quilts made for the families who had lost their homes and their possessions, but not their community. A total of 860 handmade quilts arrived to envelop all.

The community was there for them and the sewing community kicked into overdrive to create beautiful handmade quilts for them all, with love poured into each and every one of them.

“The fabric shall bind them back together in their community”

The aim was to bring back a smile a feeling of community not forgotten, of the wider community thinking of them and creating something to cherish and hold onto, to be wrapped in and comforted.

The sewing community came together from as far as Queensland, up to Darwin and down to South Australia. And from places where fires had ripped through also, like Yarloop.

Ladies created stunning quilts before sending or delivering them, along with teddy bears and also pillow cases (to complement the children’s quilts) from a delightful lady in her 80s from the Wheatbelt.

Hand over day was filled with hugs and tears, the tears became happy ones as the quilts found their owners (a quilt pulls you to it). There were many lighter steps on so many as they left. 

Fleur shared with us that…

“To see such an outpouring was amazing and 

beautiful and let me know that we are all in this together and want to do what we can to help others. It was worth the sleepless nights and the rooms filled to the ceiling with quilts, rugs, teddy’s and love. And, gaud forbid, should it happen again I would do it all again to bring a spark back to others.”

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Regeneration

Photographer: Bronwyn & Ken Hammond

Date: Various

Blacking out lasted a couple of weeks, until we had substantial rain. The landscape was suddenly stark. So very different to what we had become accustomed to over the past 20+ years.

Just add water and the bush responds with new life.  

An important reminder that we too would get through this. The darkness was quickly being replaced with vibrant colour.

Cowslip Orchard, beautiful regrowth

Photographer: Maureen Williams

Date: 19 September 2021

On our return from our trip away we were seeing more orchids emerging from the burnt soils on a daily basis.

Spring has come

Winter rains bring the land back to life and soften the harshness.  

Whilst Spring has come, there is still a stark reminder on the other side of the lake, highlighting the intensity of the fire.

Wooroloo icon, our past builds our future

Photographer: Bronwyn & Ken Hammond

Date: February 2021

With the help of friends, volunteers, government agencies and the insurance company we were able to quickly replace that property which had been destroyed and damaged.

Just as the landscape will recover over time so will we.  

We will recover better and stronger versions of ourselves. 

Our past builds our future.

Dam repair

Photographer: David Massie

Date: 16 May 2021

The dam liner was melted and now removed. 

Time to clean up the sludge ready for the new liner. 

Bells Rapids

Photographer: Jacinta McManus

Date: 13 March 2021

Photograph taken of the fire damage to the hills surrounding Bells Rapids.

I visited again in June to see the revegetation.

Western Power Camp

Photographer: David Massie

Date: February 2021

Ready to mobilise for another long day on the fire ground, installing new power infrastructure.

Chidlow Brigade on Patrol

Photographer: David Massie

Date: 7 February 2021

Seven days after the fire front scorched Tilden, the Chidlow Volunteer Bushfire Brigade continues to patrol and black out in Gidgegannup.

Minderoo POD delivery

Photographer: Nigel Etherington

Date: March 2021

Established by Andrew and Nicola Forrest in 2001, the Minderoo Foundation is a modern philanthropic organisation seeking to break down barriers, innovate and drive positive, lasting change. 

Minderoo Foundation’s Fire and Flood Resilience initiative is providing shelter and recovery support to those families whose homes were destroyed.

These temporary accommodation pods enable people to return to their land and remain within their community.

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Our POD arrives

Photographer: Maureen Williams

Date: 10 March 2021

How extraordinary it was to be offered a POD with the compliments of the Minderoo Foundation.

We distinctly remember the overwhelming feeling of survival when it arrived and was so carefully and professionally put in place.

What a wonderful gesture from Nicola and Andrew Forrest.

Blazeaid volunteers

Photographer: David Massie

Date: February 2021

Blazeaid arrived to install some fencing at a crucial time in the recovery. 

Not knowing where to start the recovery, Blazeaid came and started. Not only did they deliver fencing, but also much needed support during difficult times.

DRA volunteers

Photographer: David Massie

Date: February 2021

Disaster Relief Australia (DRA) came with chainsaws and cleared the fallen trees that blocked the firebreaks. 

The DRA volunteers were all ex-military personnel and all three services were represented. 

This photograph, from left to right, features Kylie Baumback, Rob Bampton, David Nicholson, Lee Baumback and Pepita Prince-Ruiz.

Nesting Box Project 

Project Coordinator: Simon Cherriman

Simon made his first nesting box when he was 10 years old! He has dedicated his life to the conservation of West Australian wildlife and educating the community to better understand and appreciate its importance.

Following the Wooroloo Bushfire he called for assistance with installing nesting boxes throughout the fire scar prior to the 2021 breeding season. The boxes lend a helping hand as the hollow formation process in trees takes hundreds of years.

Simon shared that “Nest boxes age trees, you can turn a tree that’s 20-years-old into one that’s 200-years-old.

230 nest boxes were constructed for this project. They have been installed to provide homes for displaced birds and small marsupials, ensuring that local recovery is possible.

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Synchronisation

Photographer: Nigel Etherington

Date: February 2021

Synchronization (noun)

Pronounced: [sɪŋkrənʌɪˈzeɪʃ(ə)n]

The operation or activity of two or more things at the same time or rate.

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Modern art

Photographer: Barbara Laurin

Date: 28 February 2021

Our hay and machinery shed.  

We had received our annual hay delivery just the week before.

Boots after fire

Photographer: Sue West

Date: February 2021

worn out. adjective. 

UK: wɔːn ˈaʊt

US: wɔːrn ˈaʊt

Something that is worn out can no longer be used because it is so old or because it has been damaged by continued use.

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I caught the first, the biggest and the most

Photographer: Maureen Williams

Date: 7 July 2021

We were in need of a break away and headed to Carnarvon. 

We indulged ourselves by joining a fishing charter. 

We had great success that day and I have loads more pictures to prove the title of this image is correct!

A break away to Monkey Mia

Photographer: Barbara Laurin

Date: 19 September 2021

Red Cross have shared with us all, the importance of self-care. It has been refreshing to see a number of impacted residents taking the opportunity for short trips away to rest and recharge.

Parky Care have also been very active in this area, brokering weekends away to Preston Beach for families in need of some well-earned time out.

The Community Led Art Project “CLAP” reference group

Wildflowers

Artist: Jan Pittman

Date: mid-2020

I painted these wildflower in mid-2020 and needed to add some Hibbertia (yellow) flowers but ran out of time. I simply thought “oh well, I'll do them next spring (2021)’…

What could possibly go wrong with that thought?

Only the total loss of our 90 acres of bushland in the February fires, is what!  

Thankfully our bush is recovering but mentally perhaps I wasn't quite ready to leap into it again so soon after that fire.

Balgas after fire 

Artist: Jane Li

Date: March 2021

Fellow members of the Watercolour Society of WA were invited to visit Jan Pittman’s Gidgegannup property in March 2021.

Approximately thirty artists visited the property.

Jane chose to focus on the balgas (Xanthorrhea species) and, along with Stephanie, gifted the creations to Jan.

The Community Led Art Project “CLAP” reference group

Hillside after fire 

Artist: Stephanie Boyle

Date: March 2021

Stephanie joined approximately thirty fellow members of the Watercolour Society of WA (WSWA) at Jan Pittman’s Gidgegannup property in March 2021.

Stephanie captured the trees on the hillside.

The WSWA had an art auction soon after this, selling the paintings donated by members. They raised an amazing amount of money for bushfire relief, which was donated to the Gidgegannup CWA and the folk who organised the stock feed.

The Community Led Art Project “CLAP” reference group