National Library of Australia

The National Library building is closed temporarily until further notice, in line with ACT Government COVID-19 health restrictions.
Find out more

You must be logged in to Tag Records
Black Summer bushfire crisis, New South Wales, 2019-2020 / Matthew Abbott
Bib ID 8541422
Format PicturePicture, OnlineOnline [still image, online resource]
Abbott, Matthew, 1984- photographer
Online Access
Description 2019-2020 
1 online resource (102 photographs) : TIFF files, colour 
2 photographs : colour ; 40 x 60 cm 

Collection of photographs of the Black Summer bushfire crisis from 2 December 2019 to 5 May 2020 in New South Wales. It captures the emergency as it unfolded in communities along the South Coast, Blue Mountains, Southern Highlands, Australian Alpine areas and the Australian Capital Territory region. Includes images of the intensity of the fire fronts, community evacuation, a variety of amateur and RFS firefighting techniques, extent of the smoke cloud, destroyed natural and built environments, effected wildlife, feral animals and communal and individual grief. Images document the long term effects of the bushfires as they have emerged, such as the impact of smoke on agriculture, rebuilding in a time of coronavirus pandamic (COVID19) and slow regrowth in the bush. Also includes images of Australian Aboriginals carrying out traditional burning off practices, in Kakadu, Northern Territory, January 2020.


The 2019/2020 summer bushfire crisis, also known as 'Black Summer' was one of the most significant Australian natural disasters in recent history. Hundreds of fires, mainly in the southeast of the country, burnt through an estimated 18.6 million hectares, demolishing over 5,900 buildings, forcing hundreds of thousands to evacuate and directly killing at least 34 people. It is estimated that nearly three billion animals died in the fires. Hazardous smoke from the bushfires blanketed all the southern and eastern states for weeks at a time, affecting 80 percent of the Australian population and resulting in the depths of 445 people. At the peak of the smoke cloud, air quality in some places measured the worst in the world. The bushfires attracted ongoing political and social debate, particularly regarding the roles of climate change, drought and back burning in such extreme fire activity. A royal commission into the bushfires was established in the aftermath of the crisis.


Title from acquisitions documentation.

Published in The New York Times, 2020.

Source of Acquisition Purchased from Matthew Abbott, 2020. 
Subjects NSW Rural Fire Service -- Officials and employees -- Photographs.  |  Fire fighters -- New South Wales -- Photographs.  |  Volunteer fire fighters -- New South Wales -- Photographs.  |  Airtankers (Forest fire control) -- New South Wales -- Photographs.  |  Fire extinction -- New South Wales -- Photographs.  |  Wildfires -- New South Wales -- Photographs.  |  Forest fires -- New South Wales -- Photographs.  |  Smaze -- New South Wales -- Photographs.  |  Buildings -- Natural disaster effects -- New South Wales -- Photographs.  |  Natural disasters -- New South Wales -- Photographs.  |  Disaster relief -- New South Wales -- Photographs.  |  Fire engines -- New South Wales -- Photographs.  |  Rest centers (Disaster relief) -- New South Wales -- Photographs.  |  Evacuation of civilians -- New South Wales -- Photographs.  |  Environmental degradation -- New South Wales -- Photographs.  |  Lost architecture -- New South Wales -- Photographs.  |  Forest regeneration -- New South Wales -- Photographs.  |  COVID-19 (Disease) -- New South Wales -- Photographs.  |  COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020- -- Social aspects -- New South Wales -- Photographs.  |  Prescribed burning -- Northern Territory -- Kakadu -- Photographs.  |  Environment - Land management - Fire.  |  New South Wales -- Photographs.  |  Kakadu (N.T.) -- Photographs.  |  Kakadu / Alligator Rivers area (NT SD53-01, SD53-05)
Terms of Use Copyright restrictions may apply. 

In the Library

Request this item to view in the Library's reading rooms using your library card. To learn more about how to request items watch this short online video Help Video.

Details Collect From
PIC Online access #PIC/20950/1-102 Use 'Online Access' link in record -
PIC Cold Store Drawer 37 #PIC/20950/103-104 Special Collections Reading Room - Prior notice required

Order a copy

- Copyright or permission restrictions may apply. We will contact you if necessary.

Help Video To learn more about Copies Direct watch this short online video Help Video.
close Can I borrow items from the Library?

You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video embedded.

You can view this on the NLA website.

close What can I get online?

You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video embedded.

You can view this on the NLA website.

close Can I get copies of items from the Library?

You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video embedded.

You can view this on the NLA website.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flags
Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and other First Nations people are advised that this catalogue contains names, recordings and images of deceased people and other content that may be culturally sensitive. Please also be aware that you may see certain words or descriptions in this catalogue which reflect the author’s attitude or that of the period in which the item was created and may now be considered offensive.