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Byron Shire
June 9, 2023

Rosebank arson victim helped out by rugby club

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The homestay property at Rosebank in the Byron shire hinterland was destroyed in the arson attack in February. Photo supplied
The homestay property at Rosebank in the Byron shire hinterland was destroyed in the arson attack in February. Photo supplied

The Byron Rugby Union Club team members who helped out last Saturday. Photo supplied
The Byron Rugby Union Club team members who helped out last Saturday. Photo supplied

A Byron Bay businesswoman whose home-stay business at Rosebank was burnt to the ground by a tenant two months ago has praised the Byron Bay Rugby Club for helping to clear up the ruins last Saturday, enabling her to rebuild sooner than she hoped.

The 34-year-old Gold Coast man responsible for the arson attack is believed to be in custody awaiting trial.

He apparently drove off after setting the building alight, but then crashed down an embankment and had to be rescued by police and paramedic who had rushed to the scene on February 6.

The home-stay building on the property was gutted, leaving owner Vici Burgess devastated.

‘I was in shock for weeks,’ Ms Burgess said.

‘It was the final chink in a chain of bad events for me. I didn’t know what to do or where to go from there.’

Two months later the damaged debris and ruins had still not been cleared.

‘Lots of people had offered to help after the arson but unfortunately no one followed through with their offers,’ she said.

A player with the rugby club heard of the incident and called on his teammates to help out.

It just so happened that the club last month had launched a new campaign called Byron Bay Rugby Community Projects, where the team help out and volunteer for good causes in the community.

The newly-appointed project manager, Andy Teuma, said the campaign was ‘something the club has wanted to get started for a while’.

‘It was shocking hearing the news of what had happened to Vici and her business,’ Mr Teuma told Echonetdaily.

‘This was something that we felt was the perfect place to start, he said.

Armed with tools, boots and gloves, the rugby players boarded the team bus and travelled to Rosebank last Saturday to get their hands dirty.

Ms Burgess, according to Mr Teuma, said ‘couldn’t believe her eyes’.

‘I was told they [Byron Bay Rugby] were coming but it wasn’t until I saw them walking down the driveway with sledgehammers, shovels and tools that a wave of relief had come over me, it was as if the bad energy was lifting from the place,’ she said.

It took the group of rugby players just over two hours to complete the task

‘I wasn’t expecting the amount of work they got through, the guys did more than I could have asked for, now I can go and rebuild a lot sooner on a new slate,’ she said.

Mr Teuma said ‘It was great to get involved and really help someone who was struggling’.

‘These projects are all about the team giving back and supporting the community, especially after the support we’ve received when on the pitch,’ he said.

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  1. What a great effort from the Boys in Blue, this is what our community needs more of. I’ll be down to watch you guys play next Saturday.


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