Elanna Herbert is a poet and short fiction writer born in Canberra, who has lived in Perth and the NSW south coast. She was runner-up, Queensland Poetry Festival’s Emerging Older Poet’s Mentorship 2020 and 2018; awarded a Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre fellowship in 2019; and in 2020 was awarded a Varuna ‘Writing Fire Writing Drought’ fellowship, and won the June Shenfield National Poetry Award 2020. Elanna’s poetry appears in StylusLit 8, Australian Poetry Anthology 8 and 6, Westerly — editors desk #authorsforfireys, Axon 9(2), Not Very Quiet, and Meniscus, among others. Elanna has a PhD in Communication from the University of Canberra.


Parked by a disaster

Australia’s 2019—20 summer bushfires, known as ‘Black Summer’, directly caused the deaths of 33 people; 3 billion animals were killed or displaced, and over 3,000 homes destroyed, in Australia’s hottest and driest year on record (Commonwealth of Australia 2020: 5). In New South Wales, 7% of the state burnt and 26 lives were lost (NSW Bushfire Inquiry 2020). In the Shoalhaven, where these photos were taken, the ‘Currowan Fire’ ignited on 26 November 2019 on the northern edge of Eurobodalla Shire burned north for 74 days across 499,621 hectares, spanning four Local Government Areas (LGAs), destroying 312 homes (286 of which were in the Shoalhaven LGA), damaging another 183, and causing the death of three people near Conjola and Sussex Inlet on New Year’s Eve. The Currowan Fire was extinguished on 8 February 2020 (SBS 2020; NSW Bushfire Inquiry 2020).