Hundreds of photos submitted for bushfire photo exhibition

Media release - 29 October, 2020

The community has offered a number of amazing, high-quality images of last year’s bushfires and subsequent recovery for the forthcoming Black Summer & Beyond exhibition.

Kempsey Shire Council have been overwhelmed by the response for their call for photos and have now commenced the process of selecting and mounting the photos to be used in the exhibition which opens on Saturday 7 November.

Black Summer and Beyond - an exhibition of images from the Macleay is a travelling photographic exhibition that will move across the shire to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the 2019 fires.

Council received well over 300 submissions from members of the community, with shots taken of the fires, the aftermath and the 12 months of recovery since that time.

Council’s Coordinator Recovery, Jo McGoldrick, thanked the community for their incredible images and hoped to see an equally enthusiastic response to the exhibition.

“This exhibition marks a hugely important event in our community, but also the incredible people and their response,” said Mrs McGoldrick.

“It is almost a year since the fires swept through Willawarrin and Bellbrook. We didn’t want to mark a single day as an anniversary, as the damage, the impact and the response lasted for weeks and months.”

The exhibition will officially be opened by the Mayor at 10am on Saturday 7 November at Willawarrin Hall, before touring around the shire. The exhibition will be open to the public every day from 10am-3pm on the following dates and locations:

  • Willawarrin Hall, Saturday 7 - Sunday 15 November
  • Bellbrook Hall, Saturday 21 - Tuesday 24 November
  • Sherwood Hall, Friday 27 - Monday 30 November

Council staff will be available to link people with support services, including mental health support throughout the run.

“Between the anniversary and the forthcoming summer, it is perfectly normal for many in the community to find themselves once again dealing with complex and difficult emotions,” said Mrs McGoldrick.

“At the same time, we think it is important to mark this end of a significant chapter. During the fires there were images on every screen, then we put those thoughts away and faced the future together. Now we think it is important to look back and record the terrible and the beautiful in one exhibition.”

For more information about the exhibition or for assistance with recovery matters please call the Recovery Hub on 6566 3200 or visit 

Bushfire - Crescent headA selection of the images submitted for the exhibition
Firefighter hosing burning stumpPhoto: Ian Alsopp
Burnt landscape - Hickeys Creek Road