Troy has picked up his tools most weekends for close to 2 years to make a home away from home that he, his wife Kiera and son Ryder can spend their weekends at, on a bush block between Wodonga (Where they live) and Koetong/Corryong. He has built a small cabin, and shed on a friend's property who was kind enough to let him use a small piece of his bush, that has sadly been hit by the fire. Most of what he had there is now gone.
The photos (below) were taken at close to midnight on Sunday night the 5th of January, in thick smoke. They could barely see 20 metres in front of themselves, but you can see the damage that's been done. Once the roads are open (They are currently closed) we will be able to update the Gofundme and start the clean up.
Troy finished their small cabin only 11 weeks ago. After close to 2 years of work. Amazingly, with ash on their sons bed, a cracked window and singed spots on their doona, the cabin is still standing!!! But it is the only thing of theirs left. Their shed and possessions, are gone.
Between when we found out that there was an out of control fire, to the road closures (the quick action by the CFA and police made sure lives were saved) meant that there was no access to the block (which adjoins Guys Forest, Victoria, that's accessed via a series of slow, unsealed, narrow bush tracks) there was no ability to get anything out at all. The fire started late evening, such a huge distance away and several valleys, but overnight it was on the doorstep, there was absolutely nothing that could be done. Everyone in the region is still in shock at just how quickly 100,000 hectares was lost.
The property on the neighbouring block, plus that of a friends down the road is unscathed, the luck of the draw, it could have been 3 really hard working families in this position, thankfully the other blocks are okay, it's been an anxious wait for them to all find out for a whole week.
In his storage shed, their vehicles, a UTV side-by-side, plus a 4 wheel motorbike (that in order to get originally was swapped for a car that Troy rebuilt himself) a 12x24 shed that he dismantled, moved and rebuilt on site, all the tools he has been using to build, they lost their deep cycle batteries, their power inverter and lighting, provisions for when he wanted to take his son hunting and bike riding (Something he has tried to do a lot, to create a love of things away from technology which is tough these days, but all Ryders riding gear is gone) a new fridge they just bought before Christmas as their present to each other, it's all gone. Insurance for these types of things is impossible when being honest and nothing in the shed was covered, due to it's location.
Without the legal ability to be able to clear any land, no trees could be removed for fire breaks. A broken off branch landing on the shed from a large tree behind it that was not allowed to be removed is what looks to have caused the fire to spread in that location (and why the cabin is okay, it was in an area less dense but there wasn't another option for the shed.)
It's tough to see this happen, because his blood, sweat and so much time went into something unique for his family to enjoy for decades, something that was planned sensibly, with a lot of thought, but lack of ability due to the laws in place, to create a fire safe area for the shed, is now devastating to them, their small dream is gone.
It's not something they are able to replace anytime soon (if at all) and our small family is not able to come up with anything close to this sum.
To replace their lost possessions (conservatively, if they hunt long and hard and buy it all 2nd hand as they can find it) is well in excess of $20,000. If I can achieve anything for them, even a fraction of this amount, it will go a long way of helping them start the long process of rebuilding their weekend dream.
The fund has been set up to be withdrawn directly by Troy once we have been able to clear up the debris, to begin to replace the the things with the largest cost. The shed and tools (plus things like their chainsaw, axe, log splitter etc) will need to come first, then hopefully he can work towards finding at least 1 buggy or 4 Wheeled Motorcycle (as that's the only way to get around on the block.) and all their other possessions as we are able to. Their Coonara fireplace might be okay, but that is still unknown.
We will be keeping the campaign updated with photos of the clean up and rebuild as it happens.
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