Sunday, February 07, 2010

Fire Anniversary

What can we say? Such a terrible event exactly twelve months ago. I am starting to write this post in early January. I just know the media will be full of stories on the 7th of February, and the next day it all will be gone.

It Ain't Always So contacted me a good while ago asking if I knew the two gay guys who owned Fruit Salad Farm. I did not. I suppose they were of a similar age to myself and maybe our paths had crossed some time in the past. Who knows? I do know two gay guys who have a similar business in a similar area, so it is not implausible that I may have known the owners of Fruit Salad Farm.

If I wasn't such a lazy and non ambitious type, it could well have been myself and R who owned Fruit Salad Farm. I would not have been as brave as those two guys were. I would have lived and made sure R did too. Well, maybe.

I am focusing on the these two guys because they were gay and so am I. It is a tenuous connection, I know, but call it therapy on my part.

I am not long into research for this post and already I am feeling teary. What goes on the internet, stays on the internet.

The old Marysville property Hazelwood became fruit salad farm and the business was set up before WWII. It was a thriving business, selling fruit salad and cream, soft drinks, juice and cakes.

Fuck it. I can't do this.

Geoff Grady and Patrick Jennings

Much later edit. That was rather upsetting. I was reading online tributes in the newspapers to the two guys. I know if I start researching again, the same will happen. Needless to say, the two lads died in the fires after being very brave and warning other residents. I will just leave it all here and publish it on the day. Apologies for it being incomplete.

It Ain't Always So knew the two lads and you can read her immediate aftermath reference to them here in her personal and moving account of her experiences in Marysville.

Much much later edit: I was talking to a friend last night (Sat Jan 30) and we were talking about next Sunday and that it would be the anniversary of the fires and I mentioned about the two guys and she burst into tears. She had been to Fruit Salad Farm in the nineties and had a great old time with the guys. She did not know they had been killed in the fires.


  1. I cannot bear to think about anything to do with that day, and I censor myself everywhere all the time - change the channel, flip the page, block the thought.
    Like you, very sad for the good people who did brave things.
    Distressed beyond sanity for all the animals, killed or injured.
    and I will not tick the box below which would send the next comments to my inbox.

    I am wondering however, since million$ were donated, why everything has not been rebuilt and every business re-established.

  2. (sorry attempt #2)
    Andrew - thank-you for the kind reference. My story - as I've called it - is just that - my story of what I stupidly did - of what I perhaps should not have. I had to go looking for 'the boys' - what IF they had made it to the bridge? - WHAT IF they were hanging onto life by a thread? - I HAD TO FIND OUT. They are missed. They were the gentlest of people, always thinking of others right to the very end. Pat roared in one of town with his horn blaring - I'm sure he saved people just with that action. (now it's my turn for the tears, excuse me)
    BWCA - it's not that easy - very early on (within 24hrs) there were people claiming they had lost houses and property and within 72hrs was determined otherwise. Imagine the uprorar IF they had received funds they were not entitled to.
    I agree to some degree - perm residents should come first BEFORE holiday homes, but in saying that - holiday home owners also have some rights. It's tough. Plus in the future - it's not known yet exactly where other funds may be required.
    There is still much pain, and agony yet to come to the surface

  3. You've made me cry.

  4. Anonymous8:31 pm

    Amazing people died that day and amazing people live on to tell their tales. So hard to know which side of the coin we all would be on. I commend everyone for remembering today what happened 12mths ago..and I would give the order of Australia to all those volunteer fire fighters who braved that day and every other day.

  5. R is with you Brownie. He won't watch or listen to anything about it. It was a lot of money donated, but then the scale of the disaster was huge too.

    IAS, after listening to radio being broadcast from the area on Friday, with rain, dripping trees and coolness, it is just really weird. I really do hope people will feel today as a cleansing experience.

    Sorry Jayne. We still need to.

    Cazzie, note how no-one has ever had a negative word to say about those on the ground, doing their best.

  6. Tragedies are more sad when you focus on the individuals who were lost.

  7. Indeed Dina. Partly why a disaster near you affects you far more than one thousands of miles away.