From Cobargo to Boorowa: students given insight into bushfires

A dramatic drawing from the book The Day She Stole The Sun, produced by pupils of Cobargo school. It was part of the healing process after disastrous bushfires in the area.
A dramatic drawing from the book The Day She Stole The Sun, produced by pupils of Cobargo school. It was part of the healing process after disastrous bushfires in the area.

Students at two local schools have been given a special insight into the experiences of their counterparts in the town of Cobargo in last year's bushfires through the medium of books presented to the schools by members of the Boorowa Balladeers.

Some of the pupils of Cobargo Public School lost family members in the fires and two lost homes.

The adults around them were tense with stress and grief.

The community was beginning to recover from its experiences when COVID-19 turned lives upside down again.

As a therapeutic measure, teachers at the school encouraged the children to write about their experiences and combine their stories and drawings into a book.

It proved to be a medium for discussion and a start to the healing process.

It was also a means for families to consider the impressions recorded by the children and to talk about their feelings.

During the six weeks the children spent writing the book, many of them found that they were able to express their feelings with their friends and families.

This was part of the grieving process by community members who lost family members, friends and homes in the blaze.

The illustrated book, 'The Day She Stole the Sun,' describes the battle between Mother Nature and Ganyl, the traditional Dhurga Aboriginal word for fire.

The book was produced and published through Littlescribe, a writing platform for schools.

The publishers indicated that they believed the children brought a perspective of truth and honesty to the story which gave both young and old a chance to come to grips with the stressful experience and move on with their lives.

Prior to the end of last year, the Boorowa Balladeers presented copies of the book to Boorowa Central and St Joseph's schools, so that their pupils would have an opportunity to share the experiences of their Cobargo counterparts.

Boorowa Balladeers present a program of poems and yarns to a local audience each year as part of the Australia Day activities at Boorowa.