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We Need To Talk About Fire Now Online

Click to stream the films and access the full online program. 

We Need To Talk About Fire brings into focus critical issues that the devastation of the catastrophic Black Summer Bushfires brought to the front of the national consciousness and international media: climate change, fire management and practices, and the role of fire in regeneration. In NSW, this last week set the record for the two hottest days during the month of November in 160 years of recordkeeping. Bushfires are, and will always be, a part of living in Australia, and keeping these conversations active is critical as we live with fire as an impact of ongoing climate change.

About the films


Djiriba Waagura perform a traditional smoking ceremony, welcoming the filmmakers, speakers and the audience to Bundanon.


The Black Summer bushfire season affected our communities in deeply challenging ways. Through conversations with Terri Rowe (NSW Health), Dr. Joshua Whittaker (University of Wollongong [UOW]) and Chris Palmer (Rural Fire Service), this film addresses how the bushfires changed the individual and collective lives of those who lived through it, and those who continue to live with the emotional impacts after the fire.


What distinguishes cultural burning practices from hazard reduction burns?

Associate Professor Owen Price (UOW), Professor Jason Sharples (University of NSW) and Vanessa Cavanagh (UOW) discuss the extreme conditions that contributed to the ferociousness of the Black Summer Bushfires, and share the processes and cultural significance of Indigenous-led cultural burning, and the importance of maintaining local authority and knowledge systems to sustain our ecosystems and relationship with the land.


Climate change is altering the nature of Australian bushfires, from the unique characteristics of our fires to its seasonal and multi-year cycles.

Understanding the importance of fire requires ongoing analysis and close interpretation of the landscape, looking not only at how it behaves as a destructive force but also as a resource for long-term environmental maintenance and sustainability. Adrian Webster and Jacob Morris (Firesticks Alliance) discuss the potential of contemporary innovation that is guided by Aboriginal knowledge systems and advocate for the application of contemporary science and innovation guided by Aboriginal knowledge systems.


Vanessa Cavanagh discusses the role that women and children have played in caring for Country through the use of fire. Cavanagh discusses the importance of intergenerational knowledge transfer as a way of ensuring responsiveness to the needs of the environment, highlighting its significance as an ecological resource we are dependent upon for our own nourishment and survival.

The We Need To Talk About Fire season also includes poems, artist interviews, and three exhibitions – by Ruth Maddison, Wendy Murray and r e a, shared both online at and on view in the Bundanon Homestead until February 2021.

To request interviews, further information or imagery please contact Articulate:

Siân Davies

0402 728 462

Sasha Haughan

0405 006 035.


Bundanon acknowledges the people of the Dharawal and Dhurga language groups as the traditional owners of the land within our boundaries, and recognises their continuous connection to culture, community and Country.

In Dharawal the word Bundanon means deep valley.

This website contains names, images and voices of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.