From the bushfires to Black Lives Matter: 17 of the most powerful photos of 2020.

The word "unprecedented" has been used often in 2020.

The tragedies and triumphs we've faced as a global community are like none we've seen in our lifetimes. From the bushfires in Australia, to the scale of the lethal COVID-19 pandemic. It's been a year of masks, and sheltering, and grief, and uncertainty.

But studded in between have been incredible triumphs, for women of colour and medicine and more.

Here is a look back at the unprecedented events of the year through some of the most powerful images that captured them.

Charlotte O'Dwyer, the young daughter of Rural Fire Service volunteer Andrew O'Dwyer, wears her father's helmet at his funeral. Andrew was one of nine firefighters killed battling the deadly 2019/20 bushfires. RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons (pictured) presented little Charlotte with her dad's service medal. Image: Getty. January 7, 2020. 

A koala rescued from the 2019/20 bushfires on Kangaroo Island. It was estimated more than 30,000 koalas perished in two major fire events on the island. Image: Getty. January 4.


Basketball fans mourn for former NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. Bryant's 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, was also killed in the crash. Image: Getty. January 26, 2020. 

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rips up her copy of President Donald Trump's State of the Union address. "I wish I didn't have to do that. I wish the speech were dignified and truthful, but it wasn't," the Democrat later told Variety. "It was the least I could do." Image: Getty. February 4.


Survivors of disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein gather in Los Angeles following the guilty verdict in his rape and sexual assault trial. The women are known as the 'Silence Breakers'. Image: Getty. February 25.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend the Endeavour Fund Awards, their first public event after announcing they would be stepping down as senior royals to live a life away from the monarchy. Image: Getty


Spanish woman Carme Peris, 88, tries to touch her granddaughter's hand through a window of her nursing home. Life-saving COVID-19 physical distancing restrictions isolated millions of elderly people from their loved ones throughout 2020. Image: Getty. May 19.

A protester takes a knee in front of police during a Black Lives Matter protest in California. Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets across the US after Black Minneapolis man George Floyd was killed while being detained by police. Image: Getty. May 29.


People carry a wounded man after an enormous explosion in the Lebanese capital of Beirut. The blast occurred after a fire ignited a supply of ammonium nitrate stored at the city's port. At least 204 people were killed and another 6,500 injured. Image: Getty. August 4, 2020.


Multiple wildfires burning across California shroud the famous Golden Gate Bridge in orange smoke. The fires, which started in August, claimed 32 lives and more than 1.7 million hectares. Some were still burning in December. Image: Getty. August 9, 2020.

Degraves St in Melbourne's CBD in the midst of the city's Stage 4 COVID-19 restrictions. Melburnians spent 111 days in hard lockdown to combat a deadly second wave of the virus, which peaked at 6,768 active cases on August 7. Image: Getty. August 30.


Mourners gathered outside the US Supreme Court following news that trailblazing associate justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg had died, aged 87. A tireless champion of women's rights, Ginsberg once said, "When I'm sometimes asked when will there be enough [women on the Supreme Court] and I say, 'When there are nine,' people are shocked. But there'd been nine men, and nobody's ever raised a question about that." Image: Getty. August 18.

Wrapped in a possum-skin cloak, Senator Lidia Thorpe enters parliament for her swearing-in ceremony. A Gunnai-Kurnai and Gunditjmara woman, Thorpe is the first Aboriginal person to represent Victoria in the Senate. Image: Getty. October 6.


Pro-democracy protesters face off against riot police during a rally in Bangkok, Thailand. Thousands of Thai people staged protests throughout 2020 calling for a more accountable monarchy. Image: Getty. October 16.

US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris takes the stage after the election was called in favour of her and fellow Democrat Joe Biden over incumbent Republican President Donald Trump. When she's inaugurated on January 2020, the Californian senator will make history as the first woman, the first Black person and the first south Asian person to serve as Vice President of the United States. Image: Getty.  November 7.


British woman Margaret Keenan, 90, is applauded by staff at University Hospital, Coventry, after becoming the first person in the world to recieve an approved Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. Image: Getty. December 8.

For more of a look back at this — what's the word? — "unprecedented" year, listen to this brilliant roundup from Mamamia's weekday news podcast The Quicky.

Feature image: Getty.

00:00 / ???