Motivated Us to Action – Don and Jane

Disaster Relief Australia | June 2021

One of our biggest concerns, when the bushfires were coming, were our cattle. We wanted them to be safe, and despite everything, they all survived. No burnt hooves, none needed to be put down. The rest of the property didn’t fare so well. Our house narrowly survived but we lost many trees and outbuildings including our performing arts studio which was integral to who we are.

We lived much of our early lives in the city, working in academia, lecturing at Universities and working in the spheres of contemporary art. After moving to the country and owning livestock our perspectives on life changed. Owning cows changed our lives, which is an interesting thing to say but it is true. To be enmeshed in the environment brings you a much closer connection to the land and owning cattle is a learning experience, they have personalities and social structure and are quite intelligent animals.

Recovering from the bushfire has been a long journey. Every day you look out and there is so much more to do. Our studio used to support postgraduate students with their thesis production and after its destruction, we have lost many of those connections and feel quite isolated.

Having DRA come out with 11 people was fantastic. It was incredibly therapeutic to be able to work alongside the teams, they have motivated us to action and given us some momentum to keep going with our restoration work.

Having the team come back a second time to surprise us by organising to clean and tidy up the cemetery is humbling, we weren’t expecting it at all. I was dismayed when we walked through and saw how bad the undergrowth was, it is normally such a well cared for place. It is gratifying to see it looking so much better. Thank you DRA.