'Years later I am not so much looking for faults in my reflection, but at the faces of women in Kinglake cafés, in Flowerdale streets. Home to stories almost no mainstream media outlet would want to cover, the women left behind by Black Saturday have been left in support roles for men who are given continuing hero status—a sometimes welcomed camouflage for varied forms of abuse: financial, domestic, drug and alcohol, the list goes on. Bushfire aftermath offers a stripped-back environment where things once-hidden can thrive: ash-loving fungi, sun-hungry silver wattle and—most insidiously—white Australia’s obsession with control.'
My essay on the gender politics of natural disaster in Australia, 'Heroic Men and Helpful Women', is in the summer 16/17 Meanjin. Subscribe now x