Everyday Australian heroes stricken by the catastrophic fires are the new faces of the spring collection from iconic fashion label Country Road.
The brand has been welcomed by the Glen Alice community in New South Wales to shed light on the country’s ‘regeneration’ after the devastating aftermath of the raging hell.
Last summer, the fire ripped through the rural community at the base of the Blue Mountains in the Capertee Valley, three hours west of Sydney, scorching property and wildlife.
Seven months later, however, green shoots begin to reappear from blackened tree trunks and the fauna begins to return to the area.
And now the fashion label has honored the real heroes, including a firefighter who risked his life to save homes, a traditional landowner, and a mother of four who cooked meals to feed the frontline workers.
Farmer Terrie Wallace and her husband, along with their four children, were among thousands of families forced to vacate their homes amid the terrible bushfire season in Australia.
Mother of four, Terrie Wallace was among thousands of families forced to evacuate their homes during Australia’s horrific bushfire season. Here she is pictured with her daughter Matilda, 14, (far left), Henry, 10, (center) and Campbell, 12, (far right)
While exhausted firefighters worked tirelessly to contain the fire, Ms. Wallace (pictured with her daughter Matilda) led a group of volunteers to prepare 60 meals a day for the RFS firefighters
While exhausted firefighters worked tirelessly to contain the fire, Ms. Wallace led a group of volunteers to prepare 60 meals a day for the RFS firefighters.
The family owns two properties, about 75 miles (120 km) apart, so her husband – a member of the rural fire department – traveled between the valley and Mudgee to feed their livestock during the day while burning the fires at night.
“He took the fire trucks at night to work the fires,” Ms. Wallace told Daily Mail Australia.
She and the volunteers started making food for the firefighters after she was told that no meals were offered at night.
“The local butcher served some steaks and bread, and one evening I received a call asking if I could make steak sandwiches to take to the crew. So I did, “she said.
“We had more steaks back then and all this food was served and we have a commercial kitchen in our local hall, so we started making food every day.”
Country Road has honored the real heroes, including a firefighter who risked his life to save homes, a traditional landowner and a mother who cooked meals for the frontline workers
Country Road director Elle Roseby said the brand was proud to use their voice to shine a light on fire-affected areas
Ms Wallace said the wildfires that started in November last year were a “very stressful” time for the community.
“Many people were incredibly stressed while the fires were going on. We had RFS members working day after day and they were very tired and very exhausted, ”she explained.
“The best day was when it started to rain and we saw no smoke coming up. There is a great saying that a friend of mine said: When the fires first started, we were told, “Don’t call unless you see smoke.” So we called when we saw smoke. And then we were told, “don’t call unless you see flames.”
“So we called when we saw flames. But we were told, “don’t call until you can see flames near the containment line.” So over time, we became really insensitive and got used to the fires in and around.
“We were so insensitive to it, we just had to get through the next day and we just needed the fire to be out at some point.”
Fireman Steve Dalli (pictured), captain of the Capertee Fire Brigade, said he lost about 11 pounds after spending 73 days with little sleep fighting the ferocious fire
Traditional landowner and famous artist Peter Swain (pictured) is also featured in the campaign and talks about the importance of regeneration
Rylstone local Corey Armstrong Lane is one of the many faces of the new spring collection
Ms Wallace said the community has been suffering quietly since the fires.
“I think there is still a lot of tension. There are many people in the valley who have fought the fires – and because of COVID-19, we have not been able to publicly acknowledge their efforts, ”she said.
“I hope that publicly thanking them in this way will help them realize what a great job they have done because there is still a lot of stress.
‘From lifelong friendships that fell apart during the fires that hopefully heal, to marriages that broke up during the fires and those people are coming and they are not just about how they felt around the fires, also the loss of relationships . ‘
She said she is proud of the campaign to shed light on those who are still struggling.
“I was blown away by how Country Road developed our story – and how they used real people and their clothes to show how great our community is,” she said.
“As a teenager, I bought a sweater on the country lane for my first paycheck – I never thought I’d be asked to participate in something like that.”
Lillyandra Laurie and Corey honor the new 2020 Country Road Spring Campaign
Steve Dalli, captain of the Capertee Fire Brigade, said he lost about 11 pounds after spending 73 days with little sleep fighting the ferocious fire.
“As a captain of the RFS, you are committed to the community. When the fires were on, I was under tremendous pressure, ”said Mr. Dalli.
“After two and a half years of drought and forest fires, it is absolutely fantastic to see the trees and the local bushland slowly come back to life.”
Mister Dalli traded in his fire department overalls for sweat and shirts for the fashion shoot.
“It’s a real honor to see our community’s story at the forefront of the Country Road campaign so the world can see it,” he said.
Traditional landowner and famous artist Peter Swain is also featured in the campaign, speaking of the importance of regeneration.
“The country itself heals after the fires. Regeneration is about us as people who interact with the land and animals again in a way that we are equal and that we grow together. We have to bring magic back into the country, ”Mr. Swain.
Ironically, Mr. Swain’s partner, Jo, was a country road model in the early 1980s. Although he said she hadn’t given him any tips prior to the shoot, he said he was looking forward to traveling to town to see the campaign in store.
The brand was welcomed by the Glen Alice community in New South Wales to document the ‘regeneration’ of the country following the devastating aftermath of the furious infernos
Country Road director Elle Roseby said the brand was proud to use their voice to shine a light on fire-stricken areas.
“When we heard Steve talk about the importance of regeneration, it really touched us – and it was honored in this year’s campaign name,” said Roseby.
“It gives a sense of progress, growth – and that’s exactly what you see from the people of Glen Alice, and no doubt from other fire-stricken communities.
“The incredible stories told in this year’s campaign – simply couldn’t be told without the people at the heart of it.”
The Country Road Spring range is now on sale.