ON Kangaroo Island's western end, Ben and Sabrina Davis lost everything at their 250-hectare Gosse farm on January 3 in the 2019-20 summer bushfires.
Their house, sheds, all of their 550 ewes and up to 40 per cent of their bees (60 hives) perished.
They were able to replace the ewes, but the bees have had to remain on agistment as there is minimal food sources at their farm.
"For me, it was the first time a truck had arrived to our property with sheep on it, rather than coming to pick them up," Ms Davis said.
The couple recently finished shearing 1115 ewes and lambs, with the lambs being prepared for sale.
"It is basically our first major farm income since the fires," Ms Davis said.
The Davises have also replaced most of their sheds and machinery, but are still not in their new house.
The family lived in Kingscote for a year, while Mr Davis stayed at Gosse to start on the rebuild.
The family unknowingly moved back to the Gosse property on the exact one-year anniversary of the fires.
"We had nothing to move back to, but we couldn't be separate for any longer," Ms Davis said.
"It was a tough time, because we were all in a Minderoo Foundation emergency pod at the start.
"We built an extension next to the pod to move into, while the kids are in the pod, and we are still using shipping containers for storage and sheds.
"We have been like that now for a year."
Ms Davis said the house rebuild started early last year, and is on its last legs to be finished, with painting and tiling works about to commence.
"It has been hard living 30 metres from a house that is done from the outside, but not inside," she said.
"Not having a house is the hardest thing at the moment, but our local builders are working on it as fast as they can.
"The main thing I long for is our family all living under the one roof."
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Ms Davis still hopes for the family to be back in the house by Easter.
They were woken up at 4am on Monday by the torrential downpour that lasted until after lunch, measured 111mm by lunchtime.
By the end of the event, they recorded 120mm.
Three of their dam banks were washed away or severely damaged.
There were reports of lots of fences damaged along South Coast Road from Karatta toward Hanson Bay, where the raging Sou'west River roared into the sea.
The amount of debris including blackened tree stumps being washed down the creeks were impressive to watch, she said.
Ms Davis said the damage was particularly frustrating given that many of the fences had only recently rebuilt after the fires and now property owners were facing significant, new repair costs.
Also on the to-do list for the Davises is rebuilding their sheep yards and shearing shed.
"We are still working from our old fire-damaged yards," she said.
"We will then look at building a shearing shed and the tonne of internal fencing still to do - that will hopefully make sheep work a little less hard than it has been."
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The fires did do the Davises "one favour" - the 500 acres of plantation trees they had felled and piled were incinerated.
"It has helped us to convert the area back into farmland a lot quicker," Ms Davis said.
They have cropped oats, barley, lupins and peas on the cleared country, about 40 hectares, which is all for sheep feed.
Ms Davis said she looked forward to the day the rest of the plantations surrounding their property are turned back into farmland.
"There has been minimal maintenance of those plantations since the fires," she said.
"It's turning into an ecological disaster.
"I can't wait for it all to be turned back into farmland and hopefully we can get some more families back out this way as it's great place to live."
We just want to be assured that a fire of that nature won't happen again.- SABRINA DAVIS
Ms Davis said she also voted for more fire tracks in the nearby national park, as recent fire management proved not sufficient enough.
"We just want to be assured that a fire of that nature won't happen again," she said.
"The vegetation has just been let go to grow up again, no cold burning is happening.
"I think we need to go back to the old way of fire prevention, treating fire with fire and preparing every season and not just in an emergency.
"Rather than worrying about the aesthetics of the park entrance, it's important to care about the safety of the people and animals that work and live in and near the parks."
One positive to come from this week however, was when Ms Davis was recognised with a Kangaroo Island Council Australia Day award for 'Project of the Year'.
Following the 2019-20 bushfires, she created social media project Humans of Kangaroo Island in a bid to distract people from the trauma they endured.
Almost two years later, the project has thousands of followers on social media, raised more than $78,000 for vital fire fighting equipment and the rebuild of local playgrounds. It made a significant impact in the KI community by sharing many authentic Islander stories.
At the awards ceremony on Wednesday, she thanked everyone who had shared their stories and also those people that had helped her on the Humans of KI project with donations, support or by volunteering their time.
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