Dark days ahead for Mandurah Christmas light display

Above: The burnt shed. Below: Last year’s display. Right: A letter from a fan of Mr Banyard’s Christmas lights.
Above: The burnt shed. Below: Last year’s display. Right: A letter from a fan of Mr Banyard’s Christmas lights.

IT is lights out for the family behind one of Mandurah’s brightest Christmas displays after half of their lights went up in smoke.

David Banyard was working in his shed at his Fiegert Road property in Barragup earlier this month late in the evening when he heard what he described as an “explosion”.

He went running towards the sound to find his shed in flames.

While his wife and children evacuated the property, neighbours came running and helped Mr Banyard move his gas bottles.

“I thought we’d lost the house,” he said.

“It melted the airconditioning unit and the flames were going as high as the house.

“It popped a few windows on the house.”

Lucky for Mr Banyard, his children were in the living areas at the time.

It was their bedroom windows that were smashed by the heat of the fire.

Mr Banyard has eight children and said he was thinking of other people’s children when he decided to create his amazing displays.

“The only reason I made it so big is there’s people who can’t afford to take a canal cruise to see the lights,” he said. “We drove around one day with the kids and we could not see that many lights.”

He was inspired to create a Christmas light display to rival the ones on the Mandurah canals.

Mr Banyard said he usually packed all of his lights in the shed once Christmas was over, but fortunately he left some of them up this year.

He said it would cost nearly $10,000 to replace the lights he lost, including his massive Christmas inflatables.

Mr Banyard made a lot of the displays himself though and “you can’t put prices on a lot of them”.

“The kids loved my lights and I enjoyed talking to the people who came to have a look,” he said.

He thinks a welding slag must have become stuck while he was building a new sleigh installation.

Then it took about an hour for the fire to start.

“It was a huge shock to be honest,” he said.

This is not the first time Mr Banyard’s display has been damaged.

Last year a car damaged some of the lights.

But he fixed them and his display was as good as ever.

He hopes to do the same following this latest setback and by Christmas, 2016, Fiegert Road should be twinkling again.