The classic iron kettle was a familiar sight in many Australian homesteads of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This one was kept in the shed of the old Sparks family homestead in Strathewen, one of many objects no longer in use but still too good to throw out. The homestead and its outbuildings all burned on Black Saturday, 7 February 2009.

Ian McKimmie, a descendant of the original settlers, retrieved the kettle from the ruins and included it in the objects he hung from a burned tree stump on the family property. In doing so he was creating a private memorial to the bushfires of Black Saturday, but also to the generations of his family who had lived and farmed in the area for over 150 years.

Physical Description

Iron kettle with handle, badly burned and corroded. The handle is detached from the body of the kettle, which has crumpled and torn in two places.


After the bushfires of Black Saturday many people created informal memorials out of burned objects. They mark the destruction of homes and the loss of lives, but they also express resilience, a need to create something meaningful out of the devastation. Where other people created mosaics or sculptures, Ian McKimmie assembled burned objects that evoked the farming past of his family in Strathewen, paying tribute to generations who had harvested the trees, farmed the land and fought earlier fires.

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