Yellow Rock residents Gordon and Lynn Pendlebury’s sprawling property on Purvines Road was full of character before October’s bushfires, but now it’s full of ash.
The only thing standing is a demountable delivered after the fires and which they are temporarily living in while they build their new home.
Their much-loved house, 15-strong classic car collection and even Gordon’s cherished workshops he called his “man caves” and a chook shed named Alcatraz went up in flames in minutes on October 17.
But as he writes in his engrossing tale of survival in the book, Where’s my Dad, Where’s my Dad?, all that matters very little — the main thing is nobody died.
The book goes into great detail about how Mr Pendlebury survived that day alone on his property surrounded by 10-metre high flames, but also explains the role his immediate family and members of the community and emergency services played in his survival.
“I’ve never written a book before and never thought I would, but there were two main reasons that made me do it — I wanted to thank everyone and every organisation that helped me and my family,” Mr Pendlebury said. “I thought how could I possibly repay them, so I named them all in the book and gave them all a free copy.
“The other reason was that initially I didn’t realise my story was anything out of the ordinary, but a police officer told me of all the accounts of the fire he’d come across, he thought mine was the most interesting.
“It was right at that point I began to write the book.
“I don’t try to speak for other people — the book is my experience of what happened.”
His account of the speed of the advance of the fire is gripping.
“If I had taken even six steps towards that gate I would have been consumed by fire on the spot, it was that close,” he writes.
“No more than 10 metres away my livelihood, my workshop, my office and all my cars were now part of a raging inferno.”
The book has many of Mr Pendlebury’s photos of his property before, during and after the fire swept through, plus sections providing information about his family’s history, the history behind Purvines Road and how another devastating fire destroyed part of his property in 2001.
Copies of the book can be purchased directly from Mr Pendlebury by sending an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Proceeds will go towards printing costs.