Rising from the ashes

THE Durr family have named their new home 'Phoenix'. It's a fitting title for the Carwoola property which has been rebuilt from the ground up after a house fire left the home in ashes last May.

They lost almost all of their belongings and family heirlooms in the accidental blaze, caused by ash embers. They also lost their pet chihuahua Tilly.

But after a rollercoaster 2013, the family are rebuilding, and are hoping for a drama-free 2014.

It's been less than a fortnight since the family moved back into their rebuilt home and Greg and Tracey Durr said it has helped with the healing process.

Their children Ally, 17, Jack, 15 and Charlie 13 are also glad to be home and reunited with their dog Wookie and their four horses who remained on the property during the rebuilding process.

Also returning home is grandmother Elizabeth, 92 and granduncle Andy, 98 who live with the family.

"It was year of complete highs and complete lows. There didn't seem to be any in between. It was only in January that Ally got titled Young Australian of the Year, she finished her 680km walk of the Australian Alpine Trail, that was fabulous," Mrs Durr said.

"[In May] the house burnt down and two weeks after that Charlie broke his collarbone and then Ally had her car accident. Andy had a heart attack and then ended up back in hospital for a couple of months.

"It was a rollercoaster of a year."

In October, daughter Ally was in one of the seven vehicles damaged in a smash after a driver lost control of their car in Queanbeyan.

As a result of the accident Ally sustained an injury in her knee preventing her from competing in the NSW All Schools Athletics Championships.

However, after months of physiotherapy the teenager is back at training.

Mrs Durr said this year the family hope to put everything behind them and return to a regular routine. They are focusing on putting the finishing touches on their house which they estimate will need a few more months of work.

The 43-year-old thanked everyone who helped the family get back on the feet from giving donations of food and clothes to the builders who worked six days a week to get the house up as quickly as possible.

"It's been a tragic 2013 but the amount of support and generosity from friends, family and complete strangers I think has overruled the negative parts of the year," Mrs Durr said.

"We've had just as many positives and negatives and that's because of the beautiful people that surrounded us in that time.

"When you go through experiences like that, it's amazing how much you learn about yourself and how much resilience people have got."

Related stories: Home up in flames

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