Digital photograph of the smokey sunrise taken by Robin McDonald at her beef property at Rosewhite, in Happy Valley, north east Victoria in February-July 2009.

Robin and her husband David, have been farming on this property since 1963, and were directly affected by the 2009 February bushfires which started in the early hours of Sunday 8th February 2009.

This photograph is part of the Victorian Bushfires Collection and is supported by an oral and video interview undertaken with Robin and David McDonald.

Description of Content

View across the McDonald's paddocks, directly behind the house to the east. Photograph taken the day after the Black Saturday outbreak. The fire has burnt the paddocks during the night. 'There were no fire units available to assist in defending this fire. David and Nigel used a ute with a spray unit on a trailer to fight this fire - the ute started to overheat and the spray was transferred to the tractor. The fire was put out four times but would start up again. Photograph shows the sunrise and cattle yards. David and Robin's son, Haydn, drove up from Melbourne at daylight, insisting he be allowed to pass through the roadblock at the end of the valley. The sight as he drove over the rise approaching home, was a view of the whole farm blackened. Smouldering stumps and fence posts; wisps of smoke everywhere; sheds burnt; machinery blackened. As he drove further through, he realised the fire was still burning untouched areas and he could see his father and brother desperately trying to get it under control with their small water tank outfit.' - Robin McDonald [Happy Valley resident, 19 Aug 2010].

Physical Description

Colour digital photograph


This collection of photographs contributes to understanding the experience of primary producers during the 2009 February bushfires. They particularly document the fires in north east Victoria, which were known as the Beechworth fires. These fires were responsible for the destruction of the greatest amount of public and private land in Victoria during the 2009 bushfires, and raise many issues and themes specific to the geographic nature of this area.

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