A Constant Hum

A Constant Hum is about the Black Saturday fires in Victoria on 7 February 2009. A Constant Hum is based on Alice’s hometown’s experience of Black Saturday—Australia’s worst documented natural disaster—and the resulting hardships people, especially women, face during the aftermath of bushfire. Here are some excerpts:

It’ll all be okay, my mother said, and I remember the way her familiar face scrunched, afterwards reflected back at me, in the fogged bathroom mirror, when she thought I couldn’t see .

Out of Range
You don’t hear the four shots fired out – echoing along the ridge. Or the heavy thuds of three horses collapsing, one taking that second bullet to fold down: ‘An act of kindness,’ she’ll tell you later, try to explain to anyone who’ll listen. ‘I couldn’t let them burn.’ – from ‘A Constant Hum‘ by Alice Bishop about Black Saturday Fires in Victoria in Feburary 2009.

BEFORE THE FIRE – before the front of flames roars over the hills – the ridge is thick with gums. After the fire, all the birds have gone. There is only ash and melted metal the blackened husks of cars. And the lost people: on the TV news in borrowed clothes, in temporary accommodation on the outskirts of the city, or remembered in small offerings outside the town hall.

A Constant Hum grapples with the aftermath of bushfire


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