Creative Recovery: After Bushfire

Flocking Together

Seeing the world through the eyes of children


Our children are the ones that hold our future and through this experience they have grown more aware and more protective of the beauty of our Adelaide Hills environment. Seeing the birds return and flourish and the abundance of regrowth is a message of hope for the future.
Anne Griffiths, Lobethal artist and school teacher

In South Australia Lobethal is famous for its annual Lights of Lobethal Festival, attracting thousands of visitors to explore the amazing Christmas light installations created by residents, and enjoy the festive main street’s produce stalls, food trucks and the live nativity outside the church.

The fires brought the 2019 festival to a dramatic halt. A year later, Christmas in 2020 brought a mixture of emotions for the community: some people wanted to bring Christmas back to the town, others felt it was too soon, especially as many residents were still to rebuild. Ultimately, organising a festival in amongst COVID concerns and restrictions was too difficult, and the festival was postponed for another year.

In preparation for the return of the Festival in 2021, Fabrik worked with creative company Illuminart, to develop a large scale projection that would provide a focus for the community’s expressions of hope and their celebration of the regeneration of the landscape.

Illuminart’s artistic director Cindi Drennan developed the concept of Flocking Together, acknowledging the return of the birds to the landscape after the fires, as well as the long hoped for return of the ability to gather together again.

Cindi invited local artist and school teacher Anne Griffiths to collaborate, and soon Anne had connected all four local primary schools (Lobethal Primary, Lobethal Lutheran, Lenswood Primary and Woodside Primary), who produced over 400 colourful, energetic and poignant images of birds and bushland.

Illuminart’s amazing artists animated these drawings, incorporating birdsong and a poem read by local artist and writer Belinda Broughton. The work was projected onto Fabrik’s buildings, providing a presence throughout the first Lights of Lobethal since the fires and transforming Mill Square into a meditative space where community could gather and reflect.

I was so impressed with the Flocking Together opening event at Mill Square. It was such a lovely night for the local community and such a treat to have the opportunity to attend this sort of event walking distance from home. Lobethal resident

In an exciting development, Illuminart were invited to revision the project in Adelaide’s Elder Park (Tarntanya Wama), as part of the Australia Day program. The images were projected onto an inflatable sculpture which visitors could walk through as an immersive experience.

Visit Illuminart’s website for more information about the project

Flocking Together was funded by the Australian Government, National Recovery and Resilience Agency.