The Letterbox Project
The Letterbox Project started in May, three months after the Black Saturday bushfire of 2009. Once a week the group came together, united by what had happened. They cried and listened to each other’s stories; they were shocked, horrified and fragile. They spoke constantly of the fires, going over and over it looking for the answers, there were none. They speak a little less of the fires now but it is never very far beneath the surface.
Drawing comfort from being with each other, no words were needed, they understood each other’s pain and sorrow. As work began on the letterboxes, the memories of animals that had perished flooded their minds. Beloved horses, dogs, cats, and even peacocks, all feature on the letterboxes. For months these weekly meetings were sacred, this was becoming a special time for the Strathewen women to catch their breath and begin to heal.
They have proved when all is lost, the way back can be through craft; that to pick up the most simplest of things and to just start, slowly we can become focused. They slowly began to celebrate each other’s creativity, and they began to laugh a little. This project brought families, mothers, daughters, sons and the Strathewen community together.
These letterboxes are sacred to Strathewen. They are not only a reminder of Black Saturday but they represent hope, renewal and the strength to come back from what life throws at us. They are the beginning of bringing life back to Strathewen.
The official unveiling of the letterboxes was on Saturday August 14th 2010 at Bridges Restaurant in Hurstbridge, Victoria.
“It’s not how much we do
……but how much love
we put in the doing”
This Letterbox Project, or should we call it ‘the love project’, had a mind of it own, it drove itself. People came when we needed them, products and equipment arrived when we had run out.
After eleven months, our Letterbox Project slowly grew another branch. People outside Strathewen began to join us and we are so glad that you did. What a wonderful thing that you chose to do, to help rebuild a community! The letterbox you have created or helped to create is the start of bringing life back to Strathewen. You have given us hundreds of hours, you have given us heart and soul and in doing so will help us heal.
The Strathewen Community would like to thank the support of the following people and organisations for all their support towards the Letterbox Project:
For supplying materials: Eltham Bunnings Warehouse, Annette Scott, Eleanor Fowler, Judy Mitchell, Margot Mueller, Mary Lou Pittard, Yeomans Tiles.
For hands on help: Amanda Sgourakis, Hazel Celotti and SRS Arts Group, Amie Scott, Arthurs Creek Primary School, Barbara Gregory, Beryl Scott, Beverley Harris, Brownyn De Bondi, Carey Grammar School, Carly Cesari, Carole McCarthy, Casey Taylor, Chris Rease, Dean Smitt, Debbie Tully, Dianne Zobel, Dorothy Backway, Gay Plunket, Gill & Rod – Birds The Word, Helen Muir, Helen Phillip, Jan Kerr, Jan Smidt, Jenna Plunket, Joan Denison, Julie Davies, Justin De Bondi, Karen Rogers and Family, Kim Grogan, Korumburra Anglican Church, Kris Fisher, Linda Job, Linda and Claydreamers Pottery, Lorraine Hegarty, Lyn Barfield, Margaret Richardson, Marjorie Beecham, Cerri and Warrandyte Mechanics Institute & Arts Association, Melbourne City Mission – Eltham Retirement Centre – High Care, Michelle Scott, Narelle Law, Natalie Balding, Natasha De Bondi, Paula Griggs, Plenty Valley Christian College, Poowong Primary School, Robyn Dahl Cope, Ruth Smith, Sue Lynch, Susan Cheney, Ted Cross, Vicki Ross, Vorn Kavanagh, Wendy Fox, Chocolate Lillies, Beggs to Differ.
Major Supporters: Nillumbik Shire Council, Regional Arts Victoria, Bunnings Warehouse Broadmeadows, Etham, Epping and Mill Park stores and Bridges Restaurant.