I’ve lost three houses to fire

In 1977, my house at Cygnet, in Tasmania’s Huon Valley, was destroyed by fire because of a poorly installed wood heater.

I rebuilt, but it was challenging.

The members of the community in Cygnet gathered around me in a way you wouldn’t believe.They were absolutely fantastic folk, and it was an expression of the true spirit of the Huon.

They were just so, so supportive, they relocated another house onto the property. My deepest respect and admiration will stay with me to the grave for those folk.

In 2008, my family and I moved to a property outside of Dunalley.

It was just an iconic, beautiful place.

The family that lived here for 80 years had built a fine property, the shearing shed was just absolutely magnificent — the most photographed building on the Arthur Highway — along with all the other buildings, and it had fine gardens.

In September 2011, on Father’s Day, the house caught alight.

I think it was a chink in the chimney that allowed some embers to get into the ceiling and when a wind came up, it ignited a fire in the roof and it burned the house.

Chimneys and I don’t get along too well!

I was at work and there was this distress call to say that the house was burning.

So I got home and the valiant firies saved a reasonable amount of the shell, but the whole place was gutted and had to be reconstructed.

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