Sunday, 7 July 2013

Goodbye to the Festival of Fire

Going to let all you fabulous supporters take a good long hard look at the fire damaged Hanworth House, because things are about to change!

Remember I mused recently at the role that 2 photographers had played in capturing the tragedy of the fire and somehow also managed to depict some kind of beauty via those sad shots? I previously shared with you some shots from  my Fabulous (F)oto Friend  (FFF)

I forgot to share with you the beautiful poem which FFF penned after the fire, sensing my devastation at the HH loss. It was such a beautiful gesture.

Well in this post I introduce another mega talented photographer Superstar Josh Bakkum. So on a lonely post fire afternoon (when the wounds of fire were still quite raw) this guy walks in and asks (nicely!) if he might take some photos. I tried to establish he was not an axe murderer first or someone I should not be letting in - well he had a business card so I thought that was a good start - and he did look respectable -  so I went with my gut and let him in - and I have since learnt he is an ultra talented photographer

Here's some of the both eerie and spectacularly beautiful shots he has sent through to me - I love this one from the kitchen through to the hallway. It looks like the perfect setting for an episode of "The Addams Family"

This one of the dining room is amazing - and, may I say, suitably enhanced by that raspberry red wall. The photo would not be half so good if the wall had been white! Just saying! Critics be hushed - you know who you are!

Poor HH kitchen - the cupboards were due to arrive the day after the fire

This shot I've posted before - gives new meaning to the term "hallowed halls"

And the once spectacular ballroom - still almost makes me cry - you can really see the utter devastation in these two shots - makes me so mad that a person can do all of this to such a beautiful room.

Ironic to think the ceiling was such a fabulous part (pre-fire) at HH and now is just a skeleton and has to be completely demolished

This shot, however, is probably my most poignant. This lectern has been a much loved part of our family for the last 25 years. We bought it on a rainy afternoon shopping in New Farm Antiques and it has greeted guests at our home for at least that long.  It stands in defiance of the fire, but completely ruined.  It stands, nevertheless.....!

But even amongst all the ash, the burnt walls, you can see the green outside the window of what was to have been my study a week or so after the fire in this next shot.  The view is the same, even if the walls are not. And Josh has captured the hope past the fire into the green and city outside in this shot. It remains my favourite view in the house and one which the original owner George Heath would have shared 149 years ago as he watched the ships come up the Brisbane River.

In somehow amazing news though, as if the ceiling falling down was a good thing, we discovered something amazing above it - but I will share the excitement of that find with you another day.

I told you to relish these shots. Because readers this is officially the end of the festival of fire - because I have some great news. It has been a rather good week. It has been a week of cake and champagne for sister-in-law HH's birthday - here are some of the more festive reminders.

Fabulous cakes and tarts


Fabulous table textures

I adore the green plates on the right - my mum received them for her 21st birthday - I have the matching cups too and simply love love love them

and look what we heaved out for the occasion - yes the HH silver teapot - if you have not read of her adventures she was stolen by the arsonist and returned in a blaze of glory by a good Samaritan neighbour and happily worked a charm warming the tea (and my heart) at the HH High tea last weekend.

A week of little children

and big children

a week of full champagne glasses

and empty ones!

But best of all it was a gathering of friends and family

So take a good hard look at the dented Green Lady

Because finally the insurers have agreed to put aside their differences, and let the renovations begin... the hunky workmen are destined to come back tomorrow - I can hardly contain my excitement!

Horray for Hanworth House

What a great week - and coincidentally or not, the Grand Lady turns 150 about a year from now in July 2014 so I expect I will have my work cut out to me getting her into ship shape form to be in a fit state to party like she has never before - and just 12 months to do so.

Here's to onwards and upwards to Hanworth House, to those of you who have supported me to date
and I hope you continue to join us on our journey

Let the rebuild begin!

x HH


  1. Those photos are hauntingly beautiful. How exciting the work is starting! x

    1. Oh so excited Ness. Just can't wait to feel the love again! x HH

  2. I still have a few more images to send in. Thank you so much for the kind words! I look forward to seeing this magic house in full beauty. All the best with the restoration Hanworth, I look forward to heading back. All the best xxx Josh Bakkum

    1. That would be great Josh. Head back anytime you are very welcome - now that you are definitely confirmed as someone I CAN let into the house x HH

  3. How Wonderful that you're starting the rebuild!! Congratulations... it's obviously going to be a very long haul to have to do a second renovation, just as the first was finishing, but I'm sure by the 150th celebrations you will have a beautiful house again. xx

    1. That's the plan Heidi. Your blog is inspirational too. Thank you for that. 150 is one year from next week - maybe the fact the workmen are returning that very week means something! I hope so! x HH

  4. Hello HH,
    Those photos even in total devastation-are hauntingly beautiful
    It just goes to show true beauty always shines through!!!!
    Congratulations on your fantastic news,let the renos begin,look forward to the exciting updates!
    Happy Days!
    X A

    1. Thanks A - yes I agree, he did the most magnificent job brining out the beauty in the not so beautiful. I am so so excited. Just want to see the roof off - that will really make me feel we are on our way! Hope your week is a happy one too x HH

  5. The beginning of something incredible. Every wish for a smooth journey from here on in HH.

    Much love xx

  6. Let's hope so anon - I have had enough of "not smooth" over the last two years. It is time for something nice, I am sure it is x HH