Fundraiser for Western River father and son who lost everything after Kangaroo Island fires

Tom Bell and and his father Tom Bell Snr, who operated the KI Permaculture Research Institute at Western River, lost everything in the Kangaroo Island fires. Image GoFundMe page
Tom Bell and and his father Tom Bell Snr, who operated the KI Permaculture Research Institute at Western River, lost everything in the Kangaroo Island fires. Image GoFundMe page
The historic homestead and wool shed at Western Cove survived the fire, but the KI Permaculture Institute up the road did not. - Photo Caroline Taylor

The historic homestead and wool shed at Western Cove survived the fire, but the KI Permaculture Institute up the road did not. - Photo Caroline Taylor

A fundraiser and GoFundMe page has been set up for a father and son, who lost everything in the Duncan fire on Kangaroo Island.

Tom Bell and and his father Tom Bell Snr, who operated the KI Permaculture Research Institute at Western River, lost everything in the Kangaroo Island fires on December 21.

The KI fires have so far destroyed four houses, including the Bells' at Western River and also two others at Middle River. The location and circumstance of the fourth has not been made public.

The GoFund Me page for the Bells is taking donations now. Click here to donate

The page reads: "Western River Farm is the campus for the KI Permaculture Research Institute and provides the land for experimentation, research and education. Recently a fire swept through the area whilst Tom was in town visiting his dad in hospital. Tom was left with nothing but his wallet and the clothes on his back. So much has been lost.

"The hills around Western River Cove are burnt black. Tom's home was completely obliterated by fires and they lost so much. This is a terrible tragedy, however, their spirits are high and the new shed he is about to build was unscathed. Tom is an extremely hard worker and deserves all the support he can get. Please help Tom to rebuild by donating today."

Their neighbour Caroline Taylor at the old Western Cove homestead, who survived the fire by sheltering on the beach with three European backpackers, urged the Island to help them.

Miraculously, the historic homestead and wool shed at Western Cove survived the fire, but the KI Permaculture Institute up the road did not.

"Please support our neighbours Tom and (father) Tom Bell who have lost absolutely everything in the Kangaroo Island bushfires," she posted.

"Young Tom was visiting his father in Kingscote Hospital when the fires broke out , he had suffered a heart attack two weeks earlier.

"He thus wasn't there to defend their home and it and almost all their possessions have been totally destroyed.

"It is a terrible situation and they seem to have gone pretty much under the radar. Donations of money to our GoFundMe account or physical help to rebuild, tidy up etc will all help enormously!"

All that remains of KIs favourite tree. Sorry for awful light - taken at 6am in horrendous winds before evacuating again to Kingscote. - Caroline Taylor

All that remains of KIs favourite tree. Sorry for awful light - taken at 6am in horrendous winds before evacuating again to Kingscote. - Caroline Taylor

The landmark tree at Western River before the fires. - Caroline Taylor

The landmark tree at Western River before the fires. - Caroline Taylor

Ms Taylor, who early on Monday, December 30 evacuated again to shelter in Kingscote, sadly broke the news that a famous landmark tree on the approach to Western River Cove had been lost in the fire.

"This landmark tree at Western River has finally succumbed to fire: saw it this morning toppled and sawn up beside the road," she posted.

BlazeAid meanwhile is coming to Kangaroo Island to assist with recovery and will set up a camp at Parndana.

If you are a farmer or neighbor and know of fencing losses or any other handy information, please text or email BlazeAid president Kevin Butler on 0418 530 471 or admin@blazeaid.com.au

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