Barbara Pritchard

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An Artists’ Trove

Coming up out of the smoke and ash of the bushfires that ravaged the Upper Murray and a good deal of the Australian continent I find myself sorting through debris of our little cottage where I raised my 3 sons.  

Back in the 80s after I arrived here at Redbank a little home was built out of timber that I cut from the bushland with an axe. It was a simple but functional home for 30 years , 3 bedrooms and a stone fireplace. It was a delight that Neil added to and we eventually gave it a makeover and renovated last year for visitors, filling it with cosy and eclectic furnishings. 

The firewall that swept through our property took my cottage with it but miraculously left without consuming my studio and octagon which now stand on an oasis of greenery amongst the ravaged fired landscape. We are blessed. The bushland has suffered and the native wildlife have taken cover to heal amongst our grevillias around the octagon. The first good rain has fallen and trees are beginning to shoot. All will be well. Nature is irrepressible and resilient and we must be also.    

 And so I scavenge through the ruins finding treasures in simplicity and wreckage and feeling wonder at the textures and remains of the ferocity the fire spirits have left. There is an artist’s trove here where memories and stories will always remain. 

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‘The healing can start’: Upper Murray artist wrestles with fire’s aftermath


We honour our First Nations people by fostering a shared sense of belonging for all Australians and we acknowledge the traditional custodians, Elders and knowledge Keepers of the land on which we live and work.