A 10-year-old student's suggestion has helped guide an art installation that represents the 180 families affected by the St Patrick's Day bushfires.
Dayle Smithwick, an artist and art teacher at Camperdown College, planned to have the 182 Camperdown College primary students make hessian birds to represent the 180 families from Camperdown, Garvoc, Terang and Cobden who were impacted by the devastating fires.
"One of the students suggested that we make each of the birds a phoenix," Miss Smithwick said.
"Because when they die, they get reborn again from the ashes.
"There is a lot of symbolism in them."
The project was initiated when Corangamite Shire contacted Miss Smithwick, who lost fences and sheds on her Elingamite property in the fires, to see if she needed support in the recovery.
"The council asked if I would like to prepare an art piece to acknowledge the one year anniversary of the fires," Ms Smithwick said.
"I asked if it was OK to get the kids involved at the school.
"We have used materials from the fire affected areas, including burnt logs and burnt wire.
"Each of the birds are colour coded to represent the different districts that were affected.
"A lot of the kids have families that were affected by the fires, I think this project meant a lot to them.
Phoenix birds rise up from the ashes, there is a lot of symbolism around themDayle Smithwick, Camperdown College art teacher
"They responded to it really well, they couldn't wait to do it, they were very excited by it."
The project has opened discussions among students.
"I think it has helped with the healing because they are bringing up a lot of questions about what has happened, and what is happening now and into the future," Miss Smithwick said.
"It's about showing the victims that we are remembering."
Miss Smithwick said the phoenix project had helped to draw the community together with volunteers from the Camperdown Country Womens Association came into the school to help the younger students with the needle work, plus parents come in and help with the project.
Sections of the phoenix art installation will be displayed at the Camperdown courthouse, the Terang 'Arts in the Avenue' event near the rotunda, and the Cobden 'Phoenix Project Market' between 11am-4pm at the miniature railway on Sunday March, 17
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