THE photographer who wandered the west last year will head to Gunnedah next week to document the “absolute crisis” of drought.
Edwina Robertson is taking her new project, One Bucket, across NSW and Qld “to start bringing serious awareness, particularly in urban communities, about what’s really going on”.
She wants to hear from local farmers, businesspeople, families and workers whose lives have been affected by a drought that – in some cases – has dragged on for years.
She’ll start in Tamworth on Monday, then travel to Gunnedah and Coonabarabran before going southeast to Cassilis and Merriwa.
It’s about creating awareness, fundraising and donations, and that’s where the one bucket comes in.
“We’re going to challenge people in urban areas to try to use just one bucket of water for a day; for cooking, showering, whatever else, and see how they deal with that – because that is a reality for a lot of people right now,” she said.
“We’ll also ask them to donate, say, a bucket of coins or non-perishable food items.”
It’s hoped the hashtag #onebucket will help the campaign circulate on social media. The proceeds will go to Rural Aid and Drought Angels.
Ms Robertson, who grew up in the Glen Innes area, spent 100 days travelling 27,000km across Australia in 2017.
She traded room and board for her photographic skills and dubbed the journey Wander of the West.
This time around, she said, she was asking people to share their experiences of drought – and this time around, there was a lot more at stake.
“It’s 10.30am and I’ve already cried three times today – some of the stories I have heard,” she said.
“It’s a crisis, an absolute crisis: people have absolutely no water and are suicidal and have no hope.
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“Something needs to be done, and this is what I can do: share personal stories, really putting faces to the drought.
“I think it’s going to be confrontational, but I think it kind of needs to be.”
No time to spare
She said she hoped to document the stories of a wide range of people.
“I know farmers are doing it really tough, but it’s not just farmers; it’s small businesses, locals – it affects so many people. It’s really emotionally draining hearing the desperation from people.”
As a society we quickly forget that #drought is a #naturaldisaster because of its longevity. Many primary producers are currently doing it bloody tough and there’s very little being reported about it. It’s time for a shake up and decent assistance from the #AustGov. Who agrees?— Edwina Robertson (@edwina_rob) June 17, 2018
Ms Robertson said she’d only been planning the project for a couple of weeks and had a lot to organise before setting out, “but there’s no time to spare”.
“It kills me to see people in pain,” she said.
“I’ll do whatever I can and hopefully that is something.”
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