New hay family rises from ashes

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The creators of Kurow’s iconic hay family are not letting fire stop their fun.

The Slee family, responsible for creating the hay family, have already replaced the feature, which burned down on Wednesday morning.

“We’re down but not out . . . we’ll certainly keep going,” Janina Slee said.

The hay family had been made to resemble the “minion” characters from the movie Despicable Me, and the new installation continued that trend, Mrs Slee said.

A new “purple minion” from the movie Despicable Me 2 was already on site, constructed from an old oil tank.

Mrs Slee said she and her daughter had painted it purple yesterday morning, and her husband had done work on the replacement minion as well.

“He’s cut a big mouth on the front of it and welded on some eyes and teeth.

“It definitely won’t be able to be set on fire and burned.”

People throughout Kurow were shocked to find the well-known hay family had been burned down Wednesday morning.

“We’re pretty upset about it,” she said.

“It’s disappointing to think people like to ruin hard work.”

Kurow Volunteer Fire Brigade deputy chief fire officer Richard Nehoff said the fire was attended about 3am on Wednesday by one appliance and a tanker, as well as eight firefighters.

“We were there for a couple of hours.”

He said firefighters had to spread out the hay bails to extinguish the fire and had to return to the scene a second time to ensure everything was extinguished.

The fire had left Kurow covered in smoke, which, while nobody was hurt, could affect people with breathing difficulties, he said.

Kurow Museum and Information Centre co-ordinator Carron Cossens said everyone had been disappointed to find the hay family had been destroyed.

“It’s taken away a lot of joy from our tourists and people alike,” she said.

“I’ve had a large number of people asking what’s happened.”

People were all disappointed and the vandalism was very disrespectful to the area, Ms Cossens said.

River Restaurant owner Al McDonald said the vandalism would have an impact as hundreds of people stopped for photos with the hay family.

“I think it’s disgusting,” she said.

“We don’t have that kind of thing normally. We’re a very clean little town.”

Long-term the area would be fine, but the vandalism was still bad for the town, Mr McDonald said.

By DAVID DE LOREAN

PHOTO: SUPPLIED