Rebuilding at Wheoh in the Warrumbungles after bushfire

Most recent video: Rain and rats (3:25 mins) March 2021

On Sunday, January 12th 2013, a bushfire (named Wambelong) escaped from the Warrumbungle National Park. It swept through our property, Wheoh, burning plants, wildlife and the 36 year old hand-made house built on a small sandstone rise among scribbly gums (E. rossii). The impact on our family and the landscape is most eloquently expressed by my daughter, Bonnie, in two of her own blog posts: In Memoriam (15th January 2013) and The Lonely Bones (19th January 2013).

Visitors to Wheoh were accustomed to recording special moments of their stay in a hand-written journal. Sadly, the volume covering the years 2011-2013 was lost in the fire. Earlier volumes, removed in anticipation of the fire, have now been returned. In July 2013, I began rebuilding and the next volumes are now in progress. This, more fire proof and accessible record, consists of 3 minute videos with occasional written posts. It's an attempt to capture the resilience of a fire ecology for my family, friends, and anyone attracted to the joys of reclusion, self-sufficiency and the process of building and making things out of what comes to hand. If I have a guiding principle it is a sense of gratitude that nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.

There is much to say about the impact of global warming on a fragile community. In 2019 drought records were broken with a mere 167.6 mm annual rainfall (average 600 mm). See 100 years of data 1886-2020 .

Links to short videos

  1. Rain and rats (3:25 mins) March 2021
  2. Vale Peter Thompson (3:25 mins) December 2020
  3. Metal work (3:25 mins) June 2020
  4. Self-isolating (3:25 mins) March 2020
  5. Jack's ironbark bed (3:25 mins) December 2019
  6. Framing up a making place (3:25 mins) September 2019
  7. Sights and sounds (3:25 mins) July 2019
  8. Pouring a slab (3:25 mins) May 2019
  9. Stainless tank with Jim and Tao (3:25 mins) March 2019
  10. Falling aquifers and tanks (3:25 mins) December 2018
  11. Drought - water for wildlife (3:25 mins) September 2018
  12. Bed with kurrajong coffee (3:25 mins) May 2018
  13. Hopes & dreams (3:25 mins) January 2018
  14. Walls and fences (3:25 mins) November 2017
  15. Track making (3:25 mins) August 2017
  16. Walling and painting (3:25 mins) May 2017
  17. Termites and bookshelves (3:25 mins) April 2017
  18. Doors and drawers (3:25 mins) March 2017
  19. Rain, mist and a day bed (3:25 mins) September 2016
  20. Composting toilet (3:25 mins) April 2016
  21. Bookshelves and columns (3:25 mins) February 2016
  22. Spring tank and steps (3:25 mins) August 2015
  23. House Warming (3:25 mins) May 2015
  24. Family Easter (3:25 mins) April 2015
  25. Mixing bowl basin (3:25 mins) March 2015
  26. Water tank (3:23 mins) 4th February 2015
  27. Ends and edges (3:25 mins) 27th December 2014
  28. Verandah (3:23 mins) 30th September 2014
  29. Timor Valley community declares itself Gasfield Free (3:36 mins) 17th September 2014
  30. How to make a wood-fired oven with a hot water system (collated guide) (3:25 mins) 5th August 2014
  31. Shelter before snow (3:24 mins) 29th July 2014
  32. Wallaroos released into the Warrumbungle wilds (3:26 mins) 18th June 2014
  33. Windows and doors (3:25 mins) 30th May 2014
  34. Father and son (3:26 mins) 30th April 2014
  35. Workshop-studio (3:25 mins) 30th March 2014
  36. Confederacy of birds (3:25 mins) 13th February 2014
  37. Drought and heat (3:25 mins) 30th January 2014
  38. Oven warming (3:25 mins) 15th December 2013
  39. Oven dome (3:27 mins) 18th November 2013
  40. Oven base (3:25 mins) November 2013
  41. Stone wall (3:25 mins) October 2013
  42. Spring resilience (3:20 mins) September 2013
  43. Settling in (3:25 mins) August 2013
  44. Arriving (3:21 mins) August 2013
  45. Never take a tap for granted (3:16 mins) April 2013
  46. Burnt out by bush fire (3:25 mins) January 2013
  47. Wheoh dawn before the fire (3:24 mins) November 2012
  48. Replacing the top casement window (3:51 mins) April 2012

Links to written pieces

  1. Bushfire-ravaged communities take future into own hands - 28th January 2020 [published in Independent Australia (IA)]
  2. In Place 21st September 2018 [published in Dark Sky Dreamings ed. Merrill Findlay 2019]
  3. How Barnaby Joyce contaminates my drinking water - 12th February 2018 [published in Independent Australia (IA)]
  4. Anniversary 12 months - 12th January 2014
  5. oven base (26th September - 8th November 2013)
  6. workshop (6th - 26th September 2013)
  7. level (27th August 2013 - 6th September 2013)
  8. mail box (22th - 27th August 2013)
  9. shelter and stillness (12th - 22nd August 2013)
  10. arriving (5th - 12th August 2013)