2021 has dealt a very cruel blow to my dear friends Donna and Don Reid .
Their Adelaide Hills home, Donna’s art studio and life’s work was destroyed by fire yesterday.
Don and Donna were instrumental in the preservation of #Gwalia - Western Australia's iconic outback mining town, Western Australia's first State Hotel located in Gwalia and Donna created the most incredible art from artefacts rescued from Gwalia’s scrap pile.
They also established the Gwalia Museum in 1972, with the help of local volunteers from Leonora.
Absolutely devastating . Please send your collective good vibes to this amazing couple. Any donation big or small, to help them get back on their feet is greatly appreciated.
Here's some comments from Donna regarding saving Gwalia, recorded in 2017:
" Since we went to live in the Mine Manager’s house (Hoover House) in 1970, we were treated like the boss, but I didn’t have anything to boss about except saving Gwalia.
When we first arrived, everything looked like a big rubbish dump. We drove through and up to the Mine Manager’s house and I thought ‘what have I come to’.
Gwalia was a big mess and the miner’s huts had collapsed. There was corrugated iron and wood everywhere.
But after I started looking closely, I found all of these stories of human life.
The bulldozers were there, about to start clearing up the huts and I thought ‘this place needs a museum’.
I asked the bulldozers to stop. It took some convincing, but they stopped for me. Then I got a government grant and paid Aboriginal men to sort through the rubble by hand. They were terrific. They could spot things of historical value and they brought them up to the museum.
It was touch and go whether Gwalia would survive, so we had to work so fast. I worked all day, every day.
It was strange for a woman to do this at that time, as it was still the era where women had their place.
David Quicke, a geologist and his wife Linda who lived in Gwalia, also chimed in. Linda joined me to help set up the museum.
We rallied lots of volunteers; the nurses, teachers and locals. It was a real community workshop.
There were people saving things in Leonora. As the locals started trusting us, they came up with a lot of things. We acquired an amazing amount of photographs.
Then the Shire opened up one of their storage rooms for us, which was filled with artefacts. We had a ball.
The Gwalia Museum was opened in 1972.
I’m so glad that we arrived at a time where everything was at threat of being torn down."
- Jim Epis
- Dallas Nau
- Erica Dreyer
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