bilateral kellerberrin

January 18, 2006

Fire in Kellerberrin

Filed under: keller dailies — Lucas @ 1:47 pm

kellerberrin fire
[click on image to see larger size]
photo by stuart harrison, who travelled through kellerberrin a few days ago.
this is the fire which destroyed the building between pip and dawn’s beautifully renovated ex-bank (to the left) and betties knitting store (to the right.)
if i am not wrong, it was an empty building called legends tea rooms.
The first I heard of it was in this comment from IASKA Amanda.

2 Responses to “Fire in Kellerberrin”

  1. jo Says:

    I believe the Legends cafe, that Myself and my two kids were inhabiting, was also known by the nickname,”Miss Maude”. Joe’s Tearooms was the one further down near the existing bank that also burned after ours. Apparently a “rat ate through the computer printer wire” – I was told by Dawn, who found one of our rats when he must have escaped the fire somehow. Apparently we may have been responsible for the lot!

    I was a single mother (a position both tolerated or loathed) with a view to starting a business in Kellaberrin. I was just chilling out for a while with a deadline to have myself comfortable and up and running by the start of February. It was a nice relief after being cramped in a campervan for over seven months with two kids in puberty, squashed in sleeping bags and no power…my daughter had just turned 12 and my son was 13 going on 14. It was sometimes hard yakka in the van but was compensated for by education and adventure. We recorded our travels through South Australia and Western Australia in 3 journals. I had a couple of hundred photos (i was trained in photography and fine arts up to diploma standard as diploma is as far as schooling went locally, computer arts and portraiture). These snapshots were to accompany the travel record. Unfortunately, this documentation, unfunded and featuring a single parent family journeying in Australia, all burned. I had planned an artistic journey for years (my art teacher had been given a five year plan in 98); including sketches, poetry, photos and observations with the same comparitive experience from my kids. I will never be able to repeat thess efforts. I believe it would have been a uniquely Australian underdog experience.

    We ran out of steam by the time we got to Kella because of car troubles so I bought the shop. The travel records were going to be my first exhibition, followed by: indigenous related ideas, a more local content, my own spoof studies on skimpies, friends’ art exchanges from Victoria. I knew a number of prize winners there and was keen to get an exchange of ideas and perhaps artists, also from Birramung, Federation Square, when I was ready. I’m sure they would have been keen as our families and the director were friends in Melbourne.
    I was strongly concerned with the indigenous represenation of art in rural WA which seems to be neglected regionally.

    Anyway, I have since queried my daughter about the fire and it seems the candles she lit were blown out with one remaining in a burner. Thank god the kids were out the back for hours with their new toy – the PC – because if they were in the front, they (and myself going in to retreive them) would have burned like the pet rats in the cage! A scary thought! I would tend to put the fire down to an electrical fault now too. I had plugged in some heavy duty sander and started that day so it could have been old wiring. Who knows? )Perhaps local authorities should check out buildings of that era with the old wiring, especially in renovation or with new equipment.
    I was upset to see that I was served an insurance claim suggesting “someone had behaved negligently on my behalf”. I was also upset that my children were mocked by an old local few kids who proved to be quite rude and false. They were laughed at and accused of burning the house. I encouraged my own kids to express any ungst in writing, so as to let off the steam they accumulated.
    I changed my plans to return and rebuild and disappeared so as not to expose my daughter to any more trauma. It seems that she, like myself, has a level of sensitivity and tends to feel accountable and stand up and take the blame in any circumstance…too bad for her…

    All in all, we had a pleasant stay in Kellerberrin and found the butcher staff and families especially welcoming. Their boy, Alec, was a joy. Laura also made a lovely friend in the girl, Lightener.

    It was a wonderful freedom to throw our shoes away and feel part of the land. Uncorrupted by appearances and expectations. The children learned a great deal about life and human nature – especially when they looked so feral!
    It was also nice to be welcomed by some of the indigenous, who were most friendly from the beginning, regardless of their past and very Christian in hospitality. I didn’t mind sharing and learning wonderful cultural stories that will be lost from our land if not heard and recorded. My kids also learned some great stuff from a boy who had formally been in strife but proved to be very courteous. He even took an interest in my reading as we camped at the show grounds. Being a generous child, young Darren even offered Sam gifts and even left his bike for him which he had retreived from the rubbish tip.
    Together, they got up to no more mischief than fair childplay.

    It was an unusual journey for me as I didn’t socialise a great deal, due to the presence of children and had my head firmly screwed on all the time. You have to be in a strange place – I’ve learned this much from life! Knowing limitations! I am glad I have informed my children about all experiences, dangers, drugs with an open and educated mind – although unexposed directly – there were junkies everywhere in Collingwood. They now espoecially know the land and its people without reservations about race or religion or status or behaviour – they know humanity without having been at risk! They will have their wits about them when they are older!
    Thanks Kella!

    Now I just have to figure out what to do with the block. I was hoping for further community contribution in the way of the arts…my passion.

  2. jo Says:

    Plus: I must not overlook Chris and her pleasantries at the caravan park and those who helped after the fire.
    Mick Cole (lovely bloke) was very keen for me to join his band as the singer and it might have been fun once I’d opened the gallery and had official baby sitting and schooling arranged, but hey..I’m enjoying the green trees and water of Victoria now.

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