Hope Builds At Dunalley

As reported by The Mercury - Wednesday 22nd May 2013.

The bushfire-ravaged town of Dunalley celebrated the green shoots of recovery yesterday, as a giant crane lowered the Bekkevold family's new house over where their original home once stood.

After losing almost everything on January 4 and his family barely escaping with their lives, Harry Bekkevold said he was proud the pre-built, four-bedroom dwelling was the first to rise from the town's ashes.

''It feels pretty amazing, especially as I have not seen the house until today.' Mr Bekkevold said yesterday.

"We chose a pre-built home so we could move back to Dunalley as quickly as possible."

"We're hoping to move in by July 20, because that is Zac's first birthday."

Originally from Norway, he moved to Tasmania from Sydney with his wife, Kristyn Ling, to raise a family. He said the fire destroyed at least 10 other homes on his street-out of a total of more than 60 at Dunalley.

But the IT specialist said that, rather than be crushed by the experience, he and his family were more committed than ever to the community.

"There was absolutely nothing left. When everything was over I owned the clothes I was wearing, and my car. And Kris lost heirlooms from China a few hundred years old," Mr Bekkevold said.

"But the best way to deal with something like this is to just get on with it and rebuild... that gets you excited rather than feeling sad."

"This is God's country. It's the best place to live. We absolutely love it. It was beautiful, and will be again."

Tasbuilt Homes spokesman Michael Cunningham said his company was proud to help kick off the house -building recovery at Dunalley.

"It's great to be part of the rebuild, and we were always keen to be part of it," Mr Cunningham said, as the house built in six weeks at Westbury, was set down. "We offered a certain discount to those affected by the fire."

Watching the house-drop operation was Lyn Koldenhoven, from nearby Murdunna, who also lost her home in the firestorm and who has also opted for a pre-built replacement.

Ms Koldenhoven, who moved to Tasmania last year for the cooler climate, was also adamant the fire would not drive her away.

"We came over from WA in September, bought the house in October, moved in in November, and it burnt down on the fourth of January." she said.

"But there's no regrets. We're building again, and I'm not going to let the fire beat me."


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