Rebuild process begins for ‘humbled’ fire victims
SINCE losing their Cooroibah home in the November 2019 bushfires, David and Holly Kemp have been on an emotional “whirlwind” as they prepare to rebuild from the ashes.
The couple, who have a two-year-old daughter, said the support they received since that devastating day had been “overwhelming” and helped them back on their feet much quicker than they thought they would be.
“It’s been some sort of whirlwind, ups and downs and twists and turns that we didn’t realise you would have to go through,” David said.
“Once the initial shock of everything passed there was just the get down and get into moving forward and working out what we had to do to actually move forward.”
Since moving to the property five years ago, David and Holly worked to make the Cooroibah house their “forever” home, slowly working on replacing appliances and renovating.
“It was devastating to see everything go,” Holly said.
With the house now demolished, the family can focus on what needs to be done to rebuild.
“We worked really hard to actually get the house demolished before Christmas so we could go into the new year fresh,” David said.
“Yeah, we wanted to start 2020 with a clean slate,” Holly added.
Currently in discussions with builders, David and Holly said the process will involve so much more than just building a house.
“It’s not just builders, the pool’s damaged so we’ve got to get that fixed, and the front fences and garden were all damaged, and water tanks,” Holly said.
“The old septic system too, that’s no longer allowed so we’ve got to research for the new one.
“You do that and all the costs keep adding up.”
Despite the long road ahead, the couple expressed their heartfelt thanks to those who have generously helped them so far.
“It’s been absolutely fantastic and absolutely overwhelming as well,” Holly said.
“Those first few weeks we had a flood of donations for Ruby, she’s got a whole new wardrobe.”
“That (support) got us on our feet much quicker than I thought we would have,” David said.
“That was what was actually bringing us to tears at most times, people out there were so giving.”
“It definitely puts tears of happiness in your eyes.”
The couple said keeping some sort of normality for their daughter Ruby and involving her where they could in the rebuild process was important.
“She talks about it a lot, we’re open with her about it,” Holly said.
“We’ve tried to keep her involved in the process, we took her down when (the house) was being demolished, just for 10 minutes, just so she knew it was gone.”
“She’s only two and are half so still learning to deal with her emotions but she has been quite resilient.”
“She still goes through waves of emotions, she still wants to know when we can go back to our hour and we have to explain it burnt down in the fire,” David said.
David is back on the bike after his accident the morning of the bushfire and is focused on training for an event in Victoria in March, something he said has been vital for his own mental health.
“I needed something to keep me going, nothing small,” he laughed.
“It helps us get past it, more the mental state than anything.”
“That’s probably the key thing for anyone else going through this is to try and keep your life as balanced as you can.”
In the interim the Kemp’s will continue with their rebuild process.
“There’s lots to do and lots of decisions and lots of expenses ahead,” Holly said.
“The interior design side is a bit daunting to me, choosing tiles and wall paints and lights, that will be daunting.”
“Then come another six or eight months and we have to fill it (the house) again with furniture and everything from plates and cups and saucepans and pots and linen and tea towels.”
“That’s when it’s going to hit me again, I think it will break me again when we move in.”
David and Holly thanked all those who have come to their aid over the last two months.
“We want to say a massive, massive thank you,” Holly said.
“It’s very humbling, the community spirit, to know that we had support. There’s a long, long list of businesses in town and particular people who banded together and drummed up support from other people,” Holly said.
“We don’t know everybody, but we just want to say a big thank you.”
David and Holly would like to thank:
- Salvation Army
- Red Cross
- Noosa Council
- The Bailey Kitchen – Tewantin
- Cafe Vincino – Tewantin
- Domino’s Pizza – Noosaville
- Tewantin Noosa RSL
- Harbour Wine Bar – Tewantin
- Dal Zotto Wines – King Valley, Vic
- Noosa Heads Distillery – Noosaville
- Bootsco – Noosaville
- JoJo Clothing – Hastings St
- Domini Collective – Tewantin
- Mode Screen Printing – Noosaville
- Big W – Noosa
- Jeanswest – Noosa
- Equilibrium Healing – Cooroibah
- Peppies Swim School – Cooroibah
- Fitness Revolution – Warana
- Sola Sport – Sydney, NSW
- Australia Post – Tewantin
- Unique Detailing – Noosaville
- Champion Earthmoving and Civil – Cooroibah
- Cooroy Landscape – Cooroy
- Harvey Norman – Noosaville
- Land and Sea Essentials – Sunshine Coast
- Body Beauty Co – Bowral, NSW
- Mamamia – Sydney, NSW
- Raw White Noosa River/Lauren – Tewantin
- The Men’s Shed
- Zip Snip Mobile Hair Design by Julie – Castaways Beach
- Alison from Noosa Council
- And all the community people who donated via the people listed above and those who donated to their Go Fund Me page.