A mosaic mural dedicated to the Feb 2009 Black Saturday fires in the Central Victorian
localities north of Kyneton commemorates the many homes and a church
lost on that tragic day, together with the enormous support that followed.
With the massive event affecting so many in such a wide area across Victoria, many artists rallied to contribute their skills in an effort to facilitate community connectedness and offer the public the opportunity to create memorials to aid in the healing process, both for the deeply affected locals and regional visitors later on.
Such strong support for the proposal has resulted in community partnerships being developed that will testify to the ability of people to join forces in a colourful artistic display of solidarity, deep reflection, respect and heartfelt gratitude to the CFA.
Partners in the project were –
Macedon Ranges Shire Council – who have offered the sidewall of the Kyneton Town Hall for the site, and any ongoing maintenance. The mural has been designed to be sympathetic to the heritage
value of the red brick work and the project’s grid layout echoes the glass block windows above it. This important building was both a refuge during the event and relief centre for residents afterwards. Town Hall site red bricks and glass blocks builder installing Publicity and promotion was donated and carried out by the MRS council, as well as collaboration in the planning of the time frame concerning the stages of the project. Their cultural development manager also organised the commemorative unveiling on the first anniversary, Sunday, 7th February 2010. Involving the broader community in a reverent ceremony, it acknowledged the efforts of the CFA, and the strength, resilence and determination of families, friends and neighbours in rebuilding their rural lives.
The 300 strong crowd bowed their heads in a minute’s silence at noon, after the speeches and the unveiling of the dramatic art.
Helen Macpherson Smith Trust – A philanthropic group who have established a fund especially supportive of bushfire related projects within the state of Victoria. As the major supporter, they are acknowledged in the dedication tile at the end of the mural.
Regional Arts Victoria – The major funding body for rural artists, with a specific bushfire grant available for professionals who are coordinating community projects. The project was shared with the public via their bushfire specific website ‘Storyboard’.
Cobaw Community Health (Kyneton) – acted as auspice body for philanthropic funding, the place of contact for public donations of china and the link to the residents who were fire affected, through their especially employed compassionate case managers.
Mosaic Group Volunteers – 45 wonderful individuals, some were members of two local mosaic groups offered their time, creativity and skill filling 180 gumleaf tiles between them all. China donated by the sympathetic public and burned crockery or distorted glass remains contributed by the landholders, was cut and inlaid into
the colourful tiles. Every tile was unique and contained a story.
Redesdale Recovery and Wellbeing Group – A strongly bonded collective of professionals and volunteers combined their efforts to ensure that the recovery needs were met in the short term, and they supported the project for its ability to unite the community.
Kyneton Bushland Resort – situated just out of Kyneton to the north and were evacuated on the day. Anne Buckley is one of their employees, and their prominence in the community was linked by using their gumleaf logo, cut into all the tiles to unify the design.
Smalti Australia – The vibrant glass mosaic material featured in the evocative fire front landscape scene was supplied at a discounted rate thanks to the generosity of owner David Lacey.
For more details about this community project see Kathryn Portelli’s website page.