Friday, 3 July 2009

The Aussie Spirit.

I'm not much for the jingoistic yah-yah Aussie Mateship Forged at Gallipoli myth. What I DO know, from personal experience, is that when the going gets tough, most Australians just shut up and get on with what needs to be done. It's a media myth that we do so out of some collective feeling of "mateship". I believe it's more out of a sense of "there's no point whingeing about it". So, in the aftermath of the recent, devastating bush fires, there has emerged hundreds of tales of phoenix-like re-building.

One such story that is far too little to be touted on A Current Today Tonight Tomorrow In 60 Minutes is the story of Dennis.

Dennis is in his late 60's. Dennis ran the Henry VIII Manor House in Narbethong for over 20 years. On Black Saturday, the fire came up out of the gully, racing towards the hills. Dennis and his partner had less that 5 minutes to decide what to do.

They jumped in their car and left, hoping that the road to Lilydale was still open.

When they returned, their livelihood was burnt to the ground.

According to Dennis, he's "lucky". The Manor was fully paid off and fully insured. Re-building will be easier for him than some.

But until he re-builds, he is still open for business.

There's only one thing on the menu. Pancakes.



And they're served in the dining room.


Cooked in the kitchen.


So, if you actually want to make a real difference, on the ground, to real people affected b the bushfires, head up to Narbie and pay $6 for a plate of pancakes at Dennis'.

Henry VIII Manor House, 607 Maroondah Highway, Narbethong, 3778, Vic.
Ph: 5963 7167

Everyone who drops by gets a $5 off voucher for when the Manor is rebuilt.

And in talking to Dennis about that day, and his plans, and his dreams, and my want to blog about him, he only asked one thing.

"Take a picture of this" he said. "After 2o years, this is the sum total of my worldly goods. Take a picture and show people. This is all that's left."

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

That pancake looks delish.
(Shame it's only Maple "flavoured" syrup to go on it....).

Jo said...

Thank you for bringing Dennis to not only my attention but to those that read your blog.

I will pack up my family and head up there. We have camped at Narbie before.

Obviously Dennis is showing the true Aussie spirit of getting on with it and no dwelling on what has happened. It's the attitude that many more of us need to adopt!

Thanks again....

Jo

Jazz said...

I'd go, but since he's literally half a world away, maybe he'll have rebuilt by the time I get back to Oz...

Tammois said...

Thanks for posting this... as a long-term antagonist of jingoism, this is national spirit I can get behind. I see a family trip to Narbethong in our very near future. :-)

Toni Toni Toni said...

I'd be there in a minute if I lived closer. According to Google Maps it would take me 55 days and 10 hours to get there. And I'd have to learn Japanese because some of the directions are in Japanese. I'd also have to learn to kayak because the directions take me to Hawaii and Japan in a kayak.