From the award-winning creators of Flood, Fire and Cyclone, comes Drought.
On the making of Drought:
Jackie French: It was a workshop of kids out west who accidentally showed me how bad drought can be.
‘Dad just sits by the radio and cries,’ said one.
‘Mine sits out in the paddock looking at the sky,’ said another.
Kid after kid casually told me of the endurance of living with drought.
I’ve lived through six droughts. At the end of the second one, I was no longer a farmer, reliant on the weather.
When it doesn’t rain now, I can write about it. But that doesn’t make the death of wildlife as waterholes dry up, and grass vanishes, easier to bear. If you only knew when a drought would end, you could plan. But so far, here, the wombats are more accurate in their predictions of
the next years’ rain than the weather bureau.
Yet some of my most cherished memories are of that second drought: the dusty ute-load of second-hand donated toys for the local kids for Christmas, the bring-a-plate musical evenings.
You’re all in it together during a drought, and if you stick together life can be good. There is no malice in a drought. It is perhaps the way the Australian bush prunes itself down to the toughest and hardiest, recycling nutrients for new growth.
And these days, I also know that one day the air will thicken with moisture once again, and the drought will end.
Bruce Whatley: The visual elements of drought can be deceivingly beautiful. Amazing patterns in cracked soil, the extraordinary reds of the earth contrasting with the grey and whites of dead sun-bleached
trees, the breathtaking sunsets and vast blue skies over flat treeless horizons . . . These are iconic images of Australia. Unfortunately, they mask the brutality of the elements that create it.
The illustrations were created with graphite pencil and an acrylic wash.