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Photographer documents drought to raise awareness and close gap between city, country

By Hilary Cassell, Thursday July 12, 2018 - 14:37 EST
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Edwina Robertson with her dog Jordie during her visit to Tamworth for the One Bucket campaign. - ABC

Her message is clear and simple and it is all about supporting regional communities struggling with the drought.

Photographer Edwina Robertson is on mission to help city people understand what drought means to rural communities, and what they can do to support the people who produce their food and fibre.

Currently on a road trip throughout New South Wales and parts of Queensland, her One Bucket campaign is about raising awareness and helping to bridge to gap between people from the city and those from the bush.

"One Bucket really is about trying to get those stories out via social media to raise that awareness," Ms Roberston said.

"I don't want to generalise the drought as most coverage has been. I want to personalise it, create an emotional attachment to what people in the drought are actually dealing with."

Ms Robertson started the One Bucket campaign a few weeks ago and kicked off her road trip with a stopover in one of Brisbane's busiest shopping malls to see what people there knew about the drought.

"I have a friend that lives at Condobolin and he was posting Insta stories about feeding his sheep every day, and every now and then I'd check in and see how he's going and it looked depressing," she said.

"I caught on that things weren't easy and I saw and heard a few more things about drought, and thought I had to do something about this.

"It doesn't feel right to me to stay home and not do something. I think that's what it means to be Australian, and just as a human to help others."

A professional wedding photographer, Ms Robertson grew up in the northern NSW town of Glenn Innes, and recently she has become more widely known for her .

During the Wander of the West tour, she travelled without money, relying on the kindness of families she visited for a night's food and accommodation.

In return she offered her photographic expertise to take photos of the families she stayed with.

Closing the gap between city and bush

Ms Robertson said the gap between city folk and people from the bush was widening because of the different generation.

And she thinks with international companies taking over a growing number of farms, the farmer's links with friends and family in the city is ending, and city people's connection with country towns is being lost.

"For our parents, their generations for instance all used to have an aunt or uncle or grandparents that lived in the bush," Ms Robertson said.

"It was a real treat to go and visit the bush cousins on the holidays.

"Those relationships aren't there anymore. That was the big pull to the bush and now that's not there anymore."

Raising awareness in the city so people can help

Ms Roberston said people in the city did not really understand the enormity of the drought and they did know how they could help.

"I truly believe after talking to many people in Brisbane city, people do care and they are genuinely concerned," she said.

"But they can't care and they can't be concerned until they know what's happening.

"It's just about doing something. We're asking city people to write a letter to a farmer on this campaign.

"Just a simple gesture of hey, thanks so much for working so hard and providing our food, you're not alone. It costs nothing, but can mean so much to someone."

As well as raising awareness, the One Bucket campaign is raising money for Rural Aid and Drought Angels.


© ABC 2018

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