Scott Pape was just 35 years old when he and his wife Liz lost all their possessions in 2014. Everything. Every photograph, item of clothing, piece of furniture….all of it. And as he stood there looking at the charred remains of his house after the Victorian bushfires that devastated the area where he lived with his young family, he had an incredibly surprising reaction.
It would go on to be the basis for his extraordinary best-selling book The Barefoot Investor: The Only Money Guide You’ll Ever Need which was released less than a year ago and has topped the book charts ever since…this is an edited extract from his book, republished here with full permission.
A blackened sheep stopped right in the middle of the road and eyeballed us. Its feet were badly burnt. It was shaking. The wool on its side was scorched into curly knots, revealing its bloodied ribcage. It was heaving in and out, clutching for air. In shock. Dehydrated. Traumatised. With our fences destroyed, the poor girl was left stumbling around on her own, searching for water on our home block. Most of her flock had been burnt alive when a bushfire ripped through my farm 24 hours earlier.
Without my knowledge or approval, the Department of Environment and Primary Industries had rolled up at first light and begun destroying my surviving sheep. Apparently they can do that when your farm is declared part of a disaster zone. The sheep limped off to the side of the road. They’d find her soon.
Scott tells Mia about the bushfire on the latest episode of the No Filter podcast...
I gripped my wife Liz’s hand and continued driving down our driveway towards our family home. Two chimneys and a pile of rubble were the sum total of a lifetime of possessions.
Her wedding dress. Tea cups. The few last remaining photos of her late father, who had died 10 years earlier. Butter knives. All of my baby son’s clothes. All of his toys. Everything was gone. Overhead, a TV news chopper hovered. Later, it would land amid our dead and dying animals, and a reporter would enter what remained of our private family home and kick through the still-smouldering personal possessions that had made our little family us.