Stella Reid, local resident, CFA volunteer and owner of Wildhaven Wildlife Shelter, took this image from her property at Heidelberg-Kinglake Road, St Andrews at 3.30pm on 13 October, 2009. Both the Shelter and Stella's home were totally destroyed during the Black Saturday Bushfires on Saturday 7th February, 2009. All of their animals in care perished and Stella's husband, Alan was very fortunate to survive, as many neighbours perished in the fire.

Stella and Alan have rebuilt Wildhaven and continue their work in caring for injured and orphaned wildlife. The wallaby shown in the image was orphaned due to the Black Saturday Bushfires and was cared for at Wildhaven.

Stella offered this photograph, along with one other image, for inclusion in the community-led Bushfire Photo Exhibition, which featured thirty-five local photographs, at the Bridges Restaurant/Nursery, Hurstbridge, held between February and March 2010. This image was also published in the book 'Footsteps in the Ash' which documents St Andrews' and Strathewen's experiences during Black Saturday. This image is part of the the Victorian Bushfire Collection and is supported by a series of interviews undertaken with Stella and Alan Reid.

Description of Content

Stella took this colour digital photograph of Alice, a Black Wallaby; on her property Wildhaven during a daily walk with Alice and two kangaroos. In the background are burnt tree trunks, while the ground is covered with eucalypt saplings and green grasses. Behind Alice a spider's web glistens with dew between two trunks and in the distance the morning fog is dense and is reminiscent of smoke from Black Saturday. This image 'presented a wonderful chance to show Alice standing still (a rarity) as well as depicting the state of the forest some eight months after Black Saturday. The beautiful cobweb behind Alice was part of the Australian bush. The cobwebs were a glow of life and a delight to behold, knowing all life was returning to our world'. [Interview, Stella Reid, 13 May 2011] Stella has taken many photographs documenting the changes in the native bushland, the survival of native animals left orphaned by the Black Saturday bushfires, their rehabilitation and adaption to the altered surroundings.

Physical Description

Digital photograph.


The bushfires of Black Saturday, 7 February 2009, caused significant loss of life and damage to personal and community property, and state infrastructure - and became the worst bushfire disaster in Australia's history. The Kilmore East fire swept over Mount Sugarloaf on Black Saturday destroying most of the small settlement of Strathewen and causing the largest loss of life of any community in Victoria. Despite the high death toll and widespread devastation, an astonishing number of creative projects have arisen to give comfort and help in the recovery efforts. This photograph is one of many that were used in a local photographic display and a publication which documented the many stories of loss and survival.

The image represents the dedication and love that Australian Native Animal carers have for the animals they nurse back to health and how this aids in the eventual regeneration associated with natural disasters. It reveals the challenges faced by carers in the aftermath of a disaster and how these challenges can shape the future. It is an important and rare document of the photographer's personal experience as a local resident during Black Saturday.

The image is a poignant symbol of the loss, regrowth and renewal that Stella and Alan Reid (and other residents) hit by the fires, have experienced.

More Information