Published: Packed Lost Found

MidCoast Council

Many will remember the Manning Regional Art Gallery’s PACKED LOST FOUND exhibition which documented stories of the devastating 2019 bushfires in our region. Now the Gallery has published a book as a tangible record of the project.

The PACKED LOST FOUND exhibition began as a Gallery project which explored people’s experiences after the devasting fires of 2019.

Julie Slavin and Tess Kerbel travelled around the Mid North Coast of NSW, collecting the stories of fire-affected people through things they packed, lost and found. “More often than not, these were objects of resounding significance. Sometimes they weren’t objects at all,” commented Tess.

A small exhibition was held at the Gallery and marked the first anniversary of the fires.

Documented by Tess Kerbel and photographed by Julie Slavin, the exhibition had a profound effect on our community, providing a record of the shared experience and helping us to begin a healing journey. As Tess Kerbel says, “these stories are about what survives and how to survive. How to regrow, as people and communities, through artmaking, after a crisis.”

A book has been published which contains these stories and has been distributed to participants, RFS fire stations throughout the region, MidCoast libraries, schools and halls.

If you were fire impacted and would like a copy, you can pick one up for free at the Art Gallery.

For everyone else, the book is available for sale at the Art Gallery, with proceeds going towards a second print run.

This project has been made possible with the support of the Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund and funded by the NSW Government in association with MidCoast Council.

If you are recovering after the bushfires and need some support, please visit

/Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.