On the same day we watched in horror as the Boxing Day Tsunami swept through Asia, Hawks Nest hairdresser Tammy Read was alerted to destruction much closer to home.
In the early hours of Boxing Day 2004, a fire had swept through four shops in Hawks Nest, including Tammy’s newly established hair salon, Hairdinkum Style.
“I’d only just bought the business and it was devastating to think something like that could happen in a little town like this,” Tammy said.
Tammy, who was over in Shoal by at the time, was alerted to the fire by her beauty therapist.
“I had a friend fishing at the bay and he ran me straight across to Hawks Nest,” she said.
The cause of the blaze was never discovered.
As devastating as it was for Tammy to have lost her studio, she said the one positive was that she was able to take time off over Christmas, something she’d never be able to do before.
“I had 6 weeks off and I’d never had a Christmas off in my life.”
Tammy said she was touched by the generosity of the community, including a dance school on the corner of Yamba Street in Hawks Nest that allowed her to use a corner of their hall to see clients for three months.
“I was really grateful for this.”
After this Tammy moved into unused GP rooms at the back of Myall Pharmacy, Hawks Nest as a temporary measure. Ten years on, Hairdinkum Style is still in the same location.
“Thanks to the generosity Graeme Hackworthy it worked so well for us so we took the attitude ‘why fix it if it’s not broken.”
A decade since the fire, Tammy is celebrating the survival and growth of Hairdinkum Style.
“The ongoing growth of the community has kept us busy,” she said.
Tammy has a strong base of clients from the Myall Coast, as well as regular, return holiday-makers.
“The best thing about having a business here is feeling a part of the community.”