Published On: May 13, 2020

Makes you proud to be an Aussie

All three families are helping each other to stay strong throughout this rebuild phase in true Aussie spirit.

Mraz and McCole families – Buchan, VIC
Davey Master Dealer P.K Equipment Sale, VIC
Products Donated – HS50-06T Home Pressure Systems & 125S1 Shallow Wells

Community and neighbourhood spirit is alive and well among many families affected by bushfires, including the three neighbouring Mraz and McCole families, who between them lost two homes and countless other buildings and possessions in the Buchan fires on December 30th, 2019.

Julie-Ann Mraz, her son Dan and their neighbour Margie McCole and her family, had little time to prepare as the fire came rolling in across the hills towards their homes a few kilometres out of town.

Julie-Ann’s family home was the one saved, using a gravity fed Furphy tanker to put out spot fires surrounding the home, but sadly Dan and Margie lost their home, and multiple hay sheds, fencing, and all water supplies.

“There was so much smoke you couldn’t see in front of you. Embers were jumping around and even into cars whose windows were open,” Julie-Ann says. “Dan (her son) roared home in his car, but the car seat was on fire.” They joke now about the fact that his pants were on fire, but it was no laughing matter at the time.

The families worked hard to stave off the fire, running sprinklers and even using nappies to block down the pipes on the roof. The nappies expand when they come into contact with water, so they worked well as a block to contain water on the roofs of their homes. They had an old firefighting pump but it took them three hours to get it going – a lot of lost time in urgent circumstances. This is a perfect example of how important it is in making sure firefighting pumps are always ready to go!

For Dan and Margie, despite all their efforts for them to try and save their properties, the situation was too dire for them to stay and keep fighting the blaze, so the had no choice but to evacuate.

Now, all three families are helping each other to stay strong throughout this rebuild phase in true Aussie spirit, offering much needed support to one another. The Davey water pressure systems donated will re-establish water to their homes once they are built and the shallow well will transfer water from their dams and rivers around 1km away.

Here’s a lovely note from Julie Ann-Mraz “As I said you are so proud to be Australian with people like you (Briar), Dora and Davey!  I must tell you, Margie (her neighbour) was absolutely thrilled on Saturday afternoon calling in at our place, Jeffery her hubby was sifting through where their bedroom was and found her mum’s engagement ring (she is besotted).” You can see from the photos, that there was not much salvageable after the fires swept through.

Even though their lives have been turned upside down, in true Aussie spirit, Jeff McColl (a Vietnam Veteran), still proudly hangs the Australian flag on a burnt out tree right next to where his house once was.

Genuinely the nicest people you will ever come across and as Julie Ann said, its moments like these that make you proud to be Australian and part of an initiative like this.

Take the time to look at these photos, because these ones tell a thousand words.