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It’s been years since it all happened. But even now, as I attempt to put pen to paper – or rather, fingers to keyboard – those haunting memories still make my heart race and my stomach drop. The trauma, the difficulties, and the overwhelming emotions still linger, creating that familiar ball of emotion within me.

Only now do I have the strength to tell our story to the world. And with the support of our family and friends, here is our tale – from loss to love.


The day our world turned to ashes

The date will always be etched into our minds – June 3rd, 2017. On that fateful day, our world crumbled as a fire sparked, reducing our cherished 1975 Skye House to ashes. Having only purchased the property a year earlier, we had barely spent nine months making it our home. Our daughter, Vida, was three and a half years old, and my wife, Tanya, was 36 weeks pregnant with our son.

The day of the incident, we returned from shopping for our new nursery only to see a massive plume of smoke where our house once stood. The road was closed. The blaze was so intense that even approaching it was too dangerous. Confused, we asked the roadblock assistant if they knew what the commotion was. They were the ones who broke the devastating news to us.

In a single afternoon, almost everything we called home was gone. The only connection to our lost home was through the footage from a news chopper circling overhead.

A glimmer of hope

Within hours, we had lost everything, save for the clothes on our backs and what little was in the car. I cried when I remembered my engagement ring – I had taken it off due to a broken clasp and left it in our bedroom. I thought I would never see it again.

But I wasn’t ready to give up. Miraculously, after an hour of sifting through the ruins with Tanya’s brother-in-law’s metal detector, we found it – slightly tarnished but salvageable. My heart had never been more grateful.

The aftermath

We headed straight to my parent’s place and spent the night there. But with nothing but the clothes we were wearing, we had to borrow clean underwear from my mother – something Tanya would rather forget!

We spent the next few days wandering the aisles of our local shopping centre, loading up trolley after trolley with essentials like underwear, socks, and pyjamas. The smell of fire lingered on our clothes for weeks – a constant reminder of the tragedy.

Gratitude amidst the loss

While insurance provided some relief, we never fathomed the problems and setbacks we would face. Had we known, we most likely would have sold and taken the loss. But at the time, we were neck deep. We kept going because we felt we didn’t have a choice.

The journey was far from smooth, from council approvals and compliance issues to replacing old structures, navigating septic concerns, and contending with bushfire regulations. The arrival of COVID-19 further complicated matters, pushing back the construction.

During all this, we received an outpouring of support beyond our imagination. Family and friends were incredibly generous. The community and even strangers rallied around us, providing furniture and clothes. My sister-in-law set up a GoFundMe campaign to ease our financial burden, and Mix 102.3’s Jodie & Soda initiated a heartwarming campaign that brought in donations and a plush couch that now graces our new home.

Finally home

Despite numerous obstacles and setbacks, our beautiful Adelaide Hills home stands tall once again. Over six years, we overcame hurdles and made the best of the situation.

Over a month has passed since we moved back into our Adelaide Hills home. And yet, we find ourselves hesitating to officially announce it, even to our closest friends. From that tragic day till now, it’s been a hard journey facing the challenges of putting things back together.

But that doesn’t mean it’s finally over. The insurance payout fell short, leaving our driveway damaged, the carport muddy, and the landscaping non-existent. The dilapidated fencing and six years’ worth of weeds are their own challenge. But these are minor hiccups compared to what we’ve overcome.

As I sit in our beautifully resurrected home, surrounded by the remnants of what was and the promise of what can be, I breathe a sigh of relief. The journey was long and arduous, but we’ve emerged on the other side. We are home.

What losing everything taught us

Resilience trumps tragedy

In the face of adversity, we discovered the power of resilience. No matter how daunting the challenges, the ability to bounce back and keep going became our guiding force.

Community is a lifeline

The outpouring of support from close-knit communities and strangers alike showed us the strength of human connection. It taught us the importance of leaning on others during tough times.

Patience is a virtue

Handling paperwork and waiting for construction made us understand that patience is a virtue. Sometimes, the journey takes longer than expected, but the destination is worth the wait.

Home is where the heart is

Despite the hardships, ‘home’ isn’t just walls. It symbolises overcoming tough times and is a testament to family, community, and our inner strength.

Want to support Let Them Eat? Simply head down to a Let Them Eat location near you.



To get an insight of some of the damage caused by the blaze:



After seven years, we have finally rebuilt and moved back home