Placid Ark Roadhouse family fuelled by compassion


MLA Murray Cowper with roadhouse owner George Nesbitt, Coolup Progress Association’s Angie Rodgers, Judith Nesbitt and George Nesbitt Jr.
MLA Murray Cowper with roadhouse owner George Nesbitt, Coolup Progress Association’s Angie Rodgers, Judith Nesbitt and George Nesbitt Jr.

They have been winning even more accolades for community service since the disastrous Waroona/ Yarloop fires of January 2016.

George Nesbitt, wife Judith and son George Jr were locked below a police roadblock just south of Pinjarra when the fire began its rapid move from Dwellingup towards Waroona on January 6.

“Road traffic immediately dried up but we had police and fireys up and down the highway all night and were kept busy supplying food and fuel,” Mr Nesbitt said.

“Then we had locals coming in for fuel for their generators and vehicles and ice, and their dependency on us increased as the roadblocks remained in place and people were able to get out to go to Pinjarra, but not permitted to return.

“The Coolup area was without power but we had an emergency power system to keep us going.

“At one point I tried to negotiate a return to Coolup through the roadblock but was refused, and needed to get to Pinjarra for more rolls and food to feed hungry fireys.

“Like most of the locals, I returned with the goods to Coolup the back way.”

“As ice and food supplies became critical, we depended on suppliers such as Mandurah Ice and others to transfer goods to us at the Greenlands roadblock.”

Coolup Progress Association spokesman and Murray Shire councillor Angie Rodgers said Placid Ark had been a key survival centre for the district for the duration of the fire.

“Local farmers were filling up their tractors and taking home ice and other essentials while the rest of us were relying on the roadhouse to outlast the roadblock,” she said.

“And all the time, diesel and ULP prices at the Placid Ark were up to 30 cents per litre cheaper than anywhere else.”

The following week, the diesel fuel price at Coolup was down to 97.9 cents per litre.