Joy HESTER, Bushfire, Avonsleigh Enlarge 1 /1


Elsternwick, Victoria, Australia 1920 – Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 1960

Bushfire, Avonsleigh [Bushfire (Avonsleigh, Victoria)] (1955) Place made: Avonsleigh, Victoria, Australia
Creation Notes: Date estimated by curator
Materials & Technique: drawings, watercolours, painting in brush and ink, watercolour and enamel paint Support: paper

Primary Insc: not signed. not dated. Estate stamp lower left in pen and black ink, 'Joy Hester'.
Tertiary Insc: Inscribed verso centre in ink, 'Cat. No. 11 / Bush Fire'. Inscribed verso lower centre in purple crayon, 'No 29 Group / NFS'; '29' crossed out & '25' inscribed in ballpoint pen. Inscribed verso centre right in black pencil, 'P' [encircled]. Inscribed verso lower cetnre in black pencil, 'K double/mount/ 945/0007'; label verso, upper centre in ballpoint pen, '74'.
Dimensions: image 56.2 h x 76.6 w cm sheet 56.2 h x 76.6 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1976
Accession No: NGA 76.641
Image rights: © Joy Hester. Licensed by Viscopy
  • The artist, Gray Smith, Peregrine Smith and Sweeney Reed, Tolarno Galleries


This is a watercolour by Australian artist Joy Hester (1920-60) depicting the scene of a bushfire. The work is shown as an enlargeable image. It was exhibited as a part of the exhibition ‘Joy Hester and friends’, at the National Gallery of Australia in 2001. More information on the artist and period is available on the Gallery’s ‘Joy Hester and friends’ website. The watercolour measures 56.2 cm high x 76.6 cm wide and was drawn with brush and ink, watercolour and enamel.

Educational value

  • This is an excellent resource for the Responding strand in all year bands of the visual arts curriculum. It provides a valuable opportunity for students to use their developing conceptual understandings and skills in critical analysis to respond to an Australian artwork. The painting may also be of use for the year 5 geography curriculum, particularly for the content description that refers to the impact of bushfires on environments and communities, and how people can respond.
  • This resource is of considerable significance for the Sustainability cross-curriculum priority. It exemplifies the framework of the entire priority, making clear the interdependence of environmental, social, cultural and economic systems. The resource deals with issues about the Australian landscape, and the tension between natural landscapes and fire vulnerability.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra