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Moquet Lee Pinery Fire MemorialPrint Page Print this page

02-January-2021
02-January-2021

Photographs supplied by Stephen Warren

The Moquet Pinery Fire Memorial remembers and recognises the impact of the fires on the community and pays respect to the lives lost. The memorial also pays tribute to the life of Fred Nairn and the history of the Grace Plains district.

Moquet Le is an area at the Grace Plains church it was named in honour of the late Fred Nairn. The land was gifted to the Grace Plains by the Nairn Family with additional contributions by 42 local residents. Fred was born in 1897 and attended the Grace Plains School. He enlisted in World War One and died at Moquet Farm in France on 21 August 1916. He is buried at the Niederzwehren Cemetery in Germany. 

The Pinery fire four years ago touched the communities of Warnertown and Baroota. The Tiller family, of Warnertown, lost a relative Alan Tiller, and the Dennis family, of Baroota, was lucky that young Brad Dennis survived.  Back in 2015, flames swept the Tiller family farm, burning 85,000 hectares in communities in the Lower North.  

The losses included 97 homes and machinery and livestock. Devastatingly the fire claimed two lives, including Mr Tiller's and there were many wounded survivors such as Mr Dennis who suffered 55-percent burns. Mr Dennis is back working on the family farm north of Port Pirie. He was hurt while fleeing the blaze after battling the flames with fellow farmer Mr Tiller.

Today, with the horrors of the New South Wales and Queensland blazes fresh in our minds, there are plans to unveil a $100,000 Pinery memorial on Sunday.

Victims and communities hit by the Pinery fire worked develop the memorial to be unveiled in recognition of the fourth anniversary of the disaster.

The memorial launch, which recognises and remembers the impact, lives lost and devastation, will be on the eve of the anniversary of the blaze - Sunday, November 24, at the Grace Plains Memorial Site, near Mallala, at 2pm.

The memorial committee chairman, Peter March, said the site had been built by locals. "The memorial, which is actually called the Moquet Lee Pinery Fire Memorial, would not have been possible without the generosity of community members and businesses," he said. "We acknowledge their support and thank them.

"We have been fortunate to receive local donations, community grants and government grants which were necessary as we have spent more than $100,000 on development alone. This investment, plus the time and in-kind support of our volunteers, is significant. We have spent the past three years compiling information and photos to ensure that a factual record is kept and is readily available to the public in a community-owned site any time."

The memorial is considered important to those affected by the fire which was one of the most rapid and destructive in South Australian history. A plaque will be unveiled by Emergency Services Minister Corey Wingard.

"On November 25, 2015, the Adelaide Plains area was devastated by the inferno which took the lives of two of our residents, destroyed 97 homes, 546 farm structures, 413 pieces of farm equipment, 74,000 head of livestock and poultry, $30 million worth of unreapt crops and burnt 85,000 hectares which is bigger than greater Adelaide - all of this in about five hours," Mr March said.

"The memorial is needed to remember and recognise the impact of the fires on our community in a factual and respectful way and pay respect to the lives lost. "It is important to recognise that the memorial pays tribute to the life of Fred Nairn and the history of the Grace Plains district.

"We have more than 270 historic photos and content remembering the fires and the original settlement of the district."

The Moquet Lee Pinery Fire Memorial is at Grace Plains at the rear of the former Methodist church and cemetery, eight kilometres North of Mallala.

"An area opposite the site is available to showcase some of the Country Fire Service units and farmer appliances that battled the inferno," he said. "This will provide a fitting background to the opening event. Any private farm units are welcome to become part of this display on the day."
The Flinders News (SA), 15 November 2019.

 

 

Location

Address:Balaklava & March Roads, Moquet Lee Reserve, Grace Plains, 5502
State:SA
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -34.373958
Long: 138.490963
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Park
Monument Theme:Disaster
Sub-Theme:Fire
Actual Event Start Date:25-November-2015
Actual Event End Date:25-November-2015

Dedication

Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 24th November, 2019
Front Inscription

Plaque :

This memorial has been created by the Grace Plains community to commemorate the Pinery Fire which impacted the Adelaide Plains community on 25 November 2015.

It also honours the History of Grace Plains, including the life of Private Fred Nairn.

Opened on 24 November 2019 by the Hon. Corey Wingard MP.

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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