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National Museum of Australia

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Group of four fused coins from Kilmore East bushfire, Victoria, 7 February 2009

2011.0033.0004

Group of four fused coins from Kilmore East bushfire, Victoria, 7 February 2009

Object information

Physical description

An uneven pile of four Australian coins fused together. The coin on top of the pile has a cavity that takes up about a quarter of the surface and is blue and green. The opposite side of the pile has a bright green discolouring. There is ash covering most of the coin surfaces.

Statement of significance

The collection of 16 objects were recovered by Museum Victoria for the NMA as part of a larger project relating to the Black Saturday bushfire disaster on 7 February, 2009. The collection includes fire-damaged road signs from the Murrindindi fire, plastic reflective marker posts from the Murrindindi fire, sets of fused coins from the Kilmore East fire, a set of two heat-fused spoons from Kilmore East fire, fenceposts from Vectis (near Horsham) and a piece of ?Sinter?, a natural fusion of sand, clay and organic matter caused by extreme heat, found at the base of the fencepost.

The Black Saturday fires were preceded by drought conditions, days of very high temperatures and, on the day itself, howling winds which exceeded 100kph in some areas. The fire burned around 4,000 square kilometres, centred north-east of Melbourne and stretching from Horsham and Bendigo to Beechworth and to Gippsland. Fires of this magnitude have simply not been seen in Australia before. The Kilmore East-Murrindindi fire complex was at the centre of the disaster; affected townships here and elsewhere in the Black Saturday fires including Kinglake, Callignee, Hazeldene, Marysville, Koornalla, Narbethong, St Andrews, Steels Creek, Strathewen (which lost over 10% of its population), and other areas. The death toll was 173 people (159 of these deaths were caused by the Kilmore East-Murrindindi fire complex). Over 2000 homes were lost and over 10,000 people were made homeless. The collection is indicative of the extreme conditions endured by the people and environment during this devastating event.

Object information

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