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Floods that killed 500,000 livestock feature in international photo prize

By Eric Barker, Monday June 29, 2020 - 22:59 EST
ABC image
Jacqueline Curley's image of Kate Hunter during the 2019 floods has received an international award. - ABC

When monsoonal floods and a corresponding cold snap killed more than 500,000 head of livestock in north-west Queensland, photographer and grazier Jacqueline Curley spent days capturing the devastation.

Her photos on Gipsy Plains, with dead animals lining the red and rocky landscape north of Cloncurry, were circulated by news outlets across the world.

But one moment featuring employee Kate Hunter with her head in her hands crouching down beside a cow and its calf has received international recognition.

Ms Curley's harrowing photograph has been awarded runner-up behind in the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists' photography competition.

"We had dead cattle everywhere," she said.

"Kate and I were having a look around on the quads and we just came across this section of cows and calves that had perished and I just thought, 'well, I will document this and take some photos'.

"I guess the emotion of the time showed through in one of those images."

Raising the issue to the world

Ms Curley's photos joined , water as far the eye could see, and the locals telling stories about how the event had impacted them.

The event also drew a big political response with and announcing a raft of measures to help the area get back on its feet.

"Before those images it was all focused on the coastal floods, which was fair enough," Ms Curley said.

"But they really didn't know what was happening out here and they weren't terribly interested as it being a newsworthy event.

"[The photos] probably jolted a lot of people into the realisation that there was something pretty big going on out here as well, and through that Scott Morrison came out here twice."


© ABC 2020

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