SANDY Point lost a piece of its history when fire destroyed a property belonging to the Pilkington family last Tuesday evening.
The fire started in the old weatherboard house, which was set well back from the Sandy Point Road, several hundred metres past Telopea Drive, and surrounded by trees and scrub, about 8pm.
Fire investigators have since established that an electrical fault sparked the blaze.
A security guard at Sandy Point reported seeing smoke and flames above the scrub. Yanakie and Fish Creek CFA units attended, but the house was burning fiercely by the time they reached the site. There was little left of it and all they could do was stop the fire from spreading through the scrub to neighbouring properties on the other side of the dunes. SP AusNet attended to cut off the power supply.
It took several hours and lots of water to totally extinguish the fire. By then all that remained was a brick chimney and fireplace.
No-one had lived in the property since the previous owner, Keane Pilkington, died about five years ago, but local printmaker Kim McDonald had been using it as an artist’s studio for a couple of years and had a number of artworks and tools stored there. Friends and family feel deeply for Kim and are already planning a fundraiser to help the artist. It was particularly unfortunate that she had relocated some of her work to the studio a few months ago after her Sandy Point home was flooded.
Simon Pilkington, the current owner of the property, said that the old house was over 100 years old, being one of three residences built by his family early in the twentieth century.
Simon said that his father, Keane Pilkington, had lived there as a child and had then lived in the next-door house with his family, returning to ‘Gyndahnook’, as it was known, on the death of his wife.
The old house, one of three on the Pilkington property, served as the Sandy Point post office for a number of years, servicing the growing holiday community as a telephone exchange for several decades from after the war to the 1970s. Keane’s sister, Simon’s ‘Aunty Vi’ Pilkington, wrote of it and the other Pilkington houses in her history of Sandy Point, ‘South of Dividing Creek.’