Australia

Australia fires: Graffiti artists' tribute to firefighters

Australia mural Image copyright @AndrewGibbonsArt

Graffiti artists have paid tribute to the firefighters tackling Australia's biggest wildfires in decades.

A firefighting koala with a note of thanks for the country's rural fire services was among the murals painted in Hosier Lane, Melbourne - famous for its street art - on Sunday.

Money collected as the group painted has been donated to World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Australia.

Online, social media users shared the "beautiful" tribute widely.

Andrew Gibbons, who painted the koala firefighter mural, told the BBC the response had been really positive.

"My friend Koryu Aoshima asked a bunch of us to come out together and paint for a good cause," he said.

"Nine of us participated and we each painted our own pieces."

Image copyright @AndrewGibbonsArt
Image caption Koryu Aoshima's mural (pictured behind seven of the artists to take part) took twelve hours to complete

As they worked, the group collected money in a donation box. In total they raised just over AUD$500 (£266).

"We had a good number of people share encouraging words of support for what we were doing," Andrew said.

"We did it basically because it was what we could do to help out, and beyond the money raised we hope the positive imagery does some good too.

Andrew was "born and raised" in Melbourne, but he told the BBC that many of the other artists involved were not.

"Koryu Aoshima and the majority of the artists involved were not from Australia and still cared enough to want to do a good thing," he said.

Image copyright @AndrewGibbonsArt

An estimated 10 million hectares (100,000 sq km) of land has burned since 1 July amid record-breaking temperatures and months of drought.

At least 28 people have died.

More than 1 billion animals may have died since the fires took hold, according to WWF Australia.

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Media captionNearly half of Kangaroo Island's koala population has perished in the bushfires