“We were affected by the fire on the 3rd January where 90 per cent of our farm was burned. We lost our house, shearing shed, machinery sheds, basically all our infrastructure, all machinery, lost bit over half of our livestock and about 95 per cent of the fencing.
This year has been a huge challenge; just trying to get your head around what’s happened and where to begin with the rebuild. The hardest part has been the workload, the devastation and seeing other people struggle. But seeing the community come together in the way it did, and has and still is, is a really good thing.
Silver linings have been the amount of help we received, from army to BlaizeAid, but even just the wider community and friends from near and far. They either came and helped or donated money just out of the blue, it’s been phenomenal. The generosity of people has just blown us away, it’s very humbling. The goodness of people has really shone through, shows you how many good people are out there.
I think early on it was almost easier because you are just running on adrenaline, because there is so much to do. We made the decision early on to focus on the business for now, to get it up and running.
You just pour in, it wasn’t bad, you just work hard. When things started to quieten down a little bit, I found that you sit back and think a bit more and it’s probably changed us all a little bit. I think mentally I am pretty good. I find talking to other farmers and friends helps me, just having a beer with a few mates is my sort of therapy. There is plenty of help out there if you really want or need it.
As time went on, you realise the enormity of the challenge we have ahead which has been pretty hard on everyone, especially the family. You work twenty-four-seven and don’t see the kids or wife, but we got through it all.
We’ve had a couple of very short breaks, and when we were planning on going to Robe the last round of Covid hit. We made it to Victor Harbor and the news bulletin came through so we had to turn around. We were not at all affected by Covid early in the year, but this is now the hardest part when it’s starting to affect availability of shearers, it is not easy, quite a headache. But we will have Christmas on the island, family coming over, really looking forward to that. Having some time off, hopefully. Hopefully not shearing—or actually, hopefully we are shearing.” Tom