This painting again explores the aftermath of the ‘Black Saturday’, my friends and fellow artists, Ursula and Werner Theinert nearly lost their home.
When a firestorm arrived at their Callignee home on February 7 this year Ursula and Werner Theinert stayed and fought the blaze. Like many in the area who stayed to battle the fire, Ursula remembers the day, which later became known as Black Saturday, as a ‘harrowing’ day.
Her husband Werner says as a fire approached their property on Old Callignee Road, the day got darker and darker.
“Eventually it got so dark that it was torches only …. then all of a sudden it became daylight. What that was, was the onslaught of this firestorm which had hit us. Which drove us into our house. That firestorm kept on hitting us for probably the next five to ten minutes until finally the bushfire came through.”
Ursula says there were several moments when things could have ended tragically for the couple.
“We came to terms with facing death a few times that night, and really, I think everyone who did stay and fought the fire would feel that it could have gone either way so many times.”
Werner describes various stages of horror as the couple attempted to go outside to get a hose to fight the fire, but were repelled back into their home. Then the office at the end of the house caught fire and the pair were forced outside by the strong fumes of their burning computers and office equipment.
“When we finally got outside the destruction was just overwhelming. There was a point there where we thought we would give up,” Werner says.
But the husband and wife didn’t give up, instead they began bucketing water from their spa onto the blaze in their office and in the ceiling of the house.
“I think it was finally about three o’clock in the morning when I think we’d won,” Werner recalls. “Then finally the sun came up and showed us this devastation – the smoke and the black, (it was) just incredible.”