‘It’s an ill wind that blows no good’, meaning that even a very bad situation must have some good results is very apt in this story. So, without the Moreton Bay Regional councils Covid 19 stimulus package, the Ian Fairweather Cottage would still be waiting to be repaired.

Ian Fairweather lived at Bongaree Bribie Island from 1953 until he died in 1974. He had a great love for the solitude and beauty of Bribie. His artwork production flourished in this time and he became world-famous.

He was 62 when arrived and lived in a rather rustic and basic way, craving the simple life and enjoying the isolation. The Caboolture Shire Council became concerned for his wellbeing as he aged and insisted that he provide a suitable dwelling for himself upon the site where he was living during the late 1960s.

After his death, the Council burned his grass hut, and the small house was relocated into the garden of Coungeau House, Banya Street in 1978.

This was at the request of his niece who knew that he, as a veteran of WW1, understood and admired the work of Toc H. Toc H had purchased Coungeau House from the Anglican Church to further their mission to provide holiday accommodation for disadvantaged and disabled people in need.

Toc H, an organisation, started during WW1 opening Talbot House in Belgium as a refuge for war-weary young men returning from the battlefields. It is from this beginning Toc H has become a worldwide movement built around fellowship and unselfish service. They have used the ‘Fairweather Cottage’ as a home for their caretakers until 2019 when the cottage became termite damaged and needed extensive repairs.

During the Covid 19 pandemic, the Moreton Bay Region Council offered grants and loans to community groups to stimulate our local economy and provide work to local trades and businesses. The Council has loaned Toc H the funds to eradicate the termites, install a barrier and repair the damage.

During the past months, the cottage has been restored by local trades and Toc H Bribie Branch members who have worked tirelessly to make the cottage habitable once more and beautify the grounds.

Toc H are now looking to engage new caretakers, an individual or couple, expressions of interest can be sent to coungeauhouse@gmail.com.