Two years ago the Black Summer Bushfires stole my Dorothy and Toto, we just want to go home...


 Happy New Year!!!



5th January 2020 is a day burned into my memory, my heart, my soul, my life, both literally and metaphorically. This was the day that I awoke to learn that my home had burned down in the Black Summer Bushfires during that most horrendous and cruel natural disaster, Bush Fires, in New South Wales and Australia.  Before this, I never understood how people remembered dates so clearly. Now I do. I lost everything, in a moment, or so I had thought and as it was at the time. The Morton Bushfire took all my worldly possessions; both tangible and intangible. It took my home, my financial and future security, my health and wellbeing, my livelihood and most importantly and worst of all, my independence.

I am a single-woman tree-changer. My Australian Silky Terrier Schrodinger, Schrodie for short, has suffered everything with me and more, on this crazy unbelievable journey.  

Now, like Dorothy and Toto we just want to go home. We are looking for our Wizard of Oz to help us. Hard as it is for me to ask, right now I need your help. My ruby slippers do not seem to be working, perhaps because they are charred.

I have included some photos of the carnage of my life, to give you and idea of what happened and how this crazy, insane journey started for us. I hope that this is okay and not too disturbing or distressing for you. My apologies for any discomfort caused.

Everything that had been hard won over thirty years of toil and wars against adversity. Yet here I was, with nothing but loss, ruin and devastation. Little did I know that this was only the beginning for me, this journey through the fire and beyond. It turns out that my home burning down was the best thing that happened to me all year. Even though this happened to me and that this is my reality, it still seems unbelievable and unimaginable. It certainly does not seem real. This is all such a sadness that has seeped into my soul and settled. I share my journey with you  with brutal candour in the hope that someone, somewhere might benefit when they believe that all the light in their life has been extinguished.

I spent six months fighting for my life from a rare smoke induced double pneumonia developed whilst staying to work and support my community throughout the months we were being ravaged by bushfires. This pneumonia and associated traumas triggered a very rare auto-immune disease called Vasculitis, I got the rarest type being ANCA Vasculitis which almost killed me and left me completely disabled for over two months. The industrial strength Chemotherapy and other treatments almost killed me countless times. For over a year I fought for my life, surviving against all odds. I fought with more than I had to rebuild my body, rebuild my home and rebuild my life. My fight continues.

The Government and Councils made Bushfire rebuilds a priority after possibly the worst natural disaster in the history of Australia. Masterton Homes Pty Ltd knew from the first instance my situation and vulnerability and desperate need for my home to be a priority build as per their continued promises to honour the government initiative.  From the outset , they were fully aware that I was critically ill and a vulnerable single woman. They have taken complete advantage of me personally and financially. They have put my life in peril. I need your help to spread my story and avoid homelessness and further devastation to me and my life. You can help me force them to finish my home, properly, so that I can finally start to recover. They are holding me to ransom and there is nothing I can do. Other people are in more precarious situations because they cannot advocate for themselves.

I share this with you now to take my story to the world as redress for what they have done, to spare others. I believe that they have no real incentive to finish a house over starting a new build as that is where they gain the most money, most quickly. Masterton are advertising aggressively for new customers. The 2021 flood victims are also potentially at risk. So are countless others in the future if this situation does not change now. 

For months I have said nothing to them so as not to aggravate the situation and cause further delays. This has not helped me. Urged on by friends, I am making this public to hopefully Urgently and finally resolve this situation positively.

Throughout this time, from the 10th January 2020 I was in discussions with Masterton Homes about my bushfire rebuild. They promised consistently that it would be a priority build. From May, between hospital stints, whilst I was critically ill, I with my friend and sister, met with their Salesperson who was rude, clueless, insulting, incompetent, ineffective and seemed to be a misogynist. 

I was forced to do much of the required groundwork myself, whilst critically ill, because the Salesman was incapable even though I paid them to do the work. I also paid additional and unnecessary money for duplicate reports because of his inability to do his job. I paid them the exorbitant money so that I did not need to worry myself over such things, particularly in my critical and vulnerable position.  This was not my reality. He delayed the process which was taken over by the State Sales Manager who was pleasant, helpful, diligent and efficient.

 My Contract was signed on 18th December 2020. Plans were drawn up, including landscaping which I told them was not what I wanted, not appropriate and not suitable for my needs, on multiple occasions. They dismissed me, telling me that the details did not matter. I have just discovered that this is untrue. I cannot get an Occupation Certificate to return home unless my home is landscaped as per their standard, generic mock plans unless I pay thousands of dollars that I do not have. Why does the landscaping need to be complete before I can return home as a bushfire victim/survivor? I cannot afford landscaping as a priority. I live in a country village. Masterton have put me in this position. Their landscaping plan breaches my Development Application with Council. Further costs to me will result from this action. My obligation is to meet the Council Development Application requirements but Masterton have created another expensive and time consuming nightmare for me, that I cannot afford and that will further delay my ability to return home. How is this appropriate or acceptable in my situation, or any? How are they allowed to do this without accountability?  Once again they have robbed me of my rights to design my own landscaping and live on my property as I want and need.

My contract end date for my Bushfire rebuild was 18th September 2021. Masterton ignored my build for months. Their inefficient and ineffective processes also caused months of delays. Their incompetence has been ongoing and consistent, as is their disrespect. Others have told me that Masterton have purposely done this to me as I am a woman, especially a single woman and a vulnerable person. I was fighting for my life and needed to trust that they would do what they were being paid very handsomely to do and for their expertise. They disregarded me and my build. They make constant, ongoing mistakes throughout the build. They have double charged me for some items and not provided everything that I have paid for and put the onus of proof on me by not providing documentation and lying and making the process very challenging, especially when knowing my vulnerable condition and situation. I have lost all faith and all trust in them. They have also destroyed and devalued my property. They have also destroyed about fifty metres of my brand new, very expensive Colorbond boundary fence, which was avoidable. Their contractors destroyed my property which they had no right to use. My wheelbarrow was as new and a gift from a friend to which they helped themselves and destroyed. They are disrespectful. I’ve paid them more than enough to buy and supply their own tools of trade. They piled their rubbish on my few salvaged possessions including thousands of dollars worth of bush rocks which they then threw away with their rubbish. The Site Supervisor had been told that the area including my few salvaged possessions was out of bounds to them during the build. He agreed. I was ignored once more. They expect to get away with effectively stealing my property, all that I had left from my life, without accountability and payment. They bullied me and gave me misinformation on which to make important decisions about my water tank placements in which I had invested much time and exorbitant amounts of money, robbing me of what I had planned and paid for by forcing me to change what I wanted, to suit their needs. I agreed to them installing my contracted water tanks at more than double the price of local experts for ease of process and so that I could return home more quickly. The Site Supervisor changed the water tanks without my knowledge or consent, once again robbing me of vast amounts of money. Much time, effort, research and consideration went into the careful selection of my custom made water tanks to ensure my maximum health and safety, good mental health whilst at home and not to devalue my property. 

Masterton have breached my Contract countless times in serious ways, effectively stealing my money. They have breached the Council Development Application requirements with their plan and contract breaches. They have bled me for money to cover their mistakes, for which I am not liable as confirmed by Consumer Affairs. I am at their mercy and I was forced to agree to these extra payments so they didn’t walk off the build, so that I could go home.

My urgent priority has always been to return home as soon as possible. They are inefficient, incompetent, dishonest and lack basic humanity, decency and compassion. They continually lie and provide misinformation. They lack transparency throughout their dealings with me. They refuse to provide me details, plans and specifications for drainage and water tanks, antenna to which I am entitled, because they have changed them from what is contracted. They withhold information and there is no transparency in their processes.  They lie. They have taken all my money, a lot of money, which I put into my home and have not given me what is contracted and paid for by me. My home is costing an exorbitant amount of money. They behave as though it is a charity build. They have ignored requests made by The Prime Minister’s Office for this information on my behalf. They believe that they have no accountability. This is unconscionable and most importantly this is unacceptable. Everything they have done was avoidable. This expensive and horrific nightmare that they have created for me, was avoidable. They must be held accountable so they don’t keep doing this to others, especially vulnerable people.

 From the beginning they knew that I would be homeless from January 2022. My sister also told the Area Manager a few months ago after the contract end date that they were in breach of contract, after making other very serious contract breaches and that this is a bushfire rebuild. The Area Manager said “I didn’t start the fire”. He was annoyed that I referred to my home build as a bushfire rebuild as he does not care. He doesn’t care that they will have left me homeless, when this situation ought never have eventuated. He told me to rent or stay with friends. I was told that he would not prioritize the build. Other non-bushfire builds that started after mine have been given priority, and have already been completed, as I have been told. My insurer the NRMA have been paying my rent under my policy. NRMA have been amazing.

Masterton have left my build for months without action. They want to reduce their costs and increase their profits by delaying the build and my ability to return home. They forget that I have paid them vast amounts of money to cover their profits but this seems not to be enough. Yesterday I learned that I am forced from my accommodation by the end of January. I have nowhere to go and no money. I have nowhere for my precious few belongings including my bed which were necessary for my recovery, which is ongoing. I cannot afford multiple moves or storage costs. There is no need for this reality. It seems that one man’s Ego and arrogance created this nightmare reality for me. All my money has gone into my home. My house will not be finished as they don’t care. They have breached my contract countless times. I cannot afford legal fees to right these wrongs. I know that I am not the only bushfire victim facing further devastation at their hands. What they have done is unconscionable and has significantly impacted my health and my life in negative ways. I am incredibly vulnerable and they have put my life in peril. Others are at risk. People need to know what they have done to me. My home was supposed to be completed by the 18th September 2021.

Apparently my story is powerful and inspiring. I have been told countless times by so many people including top Medical Professionals and all types of Therapists and others who have crossed my path, that my story since the Morton Bushfire stole my life is unbelievable and remarkable. I have been told that my story needs to be shared. I have been told to write a book and be a Motivational Speaker. I am humbled. My Memoir is a work in progress. I have been told that I can help government, aid agencies and policy makers. Apparently, I have a great capacity to help others by sharing my journey through ongoing compounded complex traumas over the last two years. Each has been worse than the one before. Apparently, I can really help people in very real and important ways by sharing how I have survived and restored my body, my independence and my life, against all odds and expectations, defying belief, as I’ve been told.

I am starting over when I had all but retired. I am starting over from a compromised position with nothing but my home. I cannot begin to recover until I can return home. I have seen the very best and the worst of humanity over this time. My story is about self-empowerment and sharing the beliefs, mindsets, inspirations and life skills that have helped me. Helping people is altruistic for me. This is my Silver Lining and makes all the horrors and tragedies that I have lived and survived since the bushfire, worthwhile and more than just tragedies. I have already helped others but need your help to do this on a grand scale. I would not wish any one thing let alone everything that has happened to me on anyone.

What I am sharing with you is merely the tip of the iceberg.

Thanking you in anticipation for your assistance and support at this the worst, most terrible and most harrowing time of my life.

May 2022 be filled with all things Joyful and Wonderful for us all! May it be our best year yet!




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