Frank Fekonia

Very sad to hear yesterday the passing of a true legend and active member of Permaculture Noosa – Frank Fekonia. Husband to Elisabeth, Frank was a true maverick character who told me how he escaped from communist Slovania in the early 1960’s by stealing a canoe and paddling night and day for the shores of Italy. Exhausted by the journey, he was picked up by Italian fisherman when he tumbled into the water off the Adriatic Coast. Eventually as a refugee he made it to Australia. A frustrated musician and trumpet player who was more used to the  traditional Jazz and Swing sound of the 50’s, he became a builder instead when the Beatles he said – ended his career as a musician.

He eventually moved to Cooroy in Queensland and with little money built a three storey home – entirely out of concrete – from moulds he designed himself.

 

When we met Frank and Elisabeth we made this little YouTube video for fun about how he built his home from recyclable materials – window frames and re purposed them in other ways on the balcony. Frank’s YouTube video was a hit and still remains amongst all our 60 odd Permaculture and Aquaponics video clips on YouTube – the most popular.

Frank was always himself. A real inovator with that infectious laugh. A joie de vivre attitude to life and a generosity of spirit. He would show you how to knock off a guinea-pig for lunch – with a spanner of course. Or how to grow vegetables in fridges he found at the tip, and he had a huge collection of them. Whatever he did – he did it frugally and within its limits. Terms such as “living within your Carbon footprint” were alien and foreign terms to him – because living a peasant lifestyle, off produce you grew in your backyard where elemental and natural things that you should do. He would grow massive pigs in the backyard. He would point out the Sow and of course she would be named “Elisabeth!” He chortled at that. How did Elisabeth ever put up with him?

I’ll always remember Frank showing me his “water purification system” as he liked to call it and then laugh his boyish naughty giggle as he pointed to it. An illegal sly grog still to make the firewater -Vodka! And by Jove could he drink the stuff! He used to say that you had to have a big peasant breakfast in the morning – loaded with Vodka of course; Then – you could work all day.

So here’s my toast to Frank Fekonia – a terrible piano accordian player but a rare character in the Permaculture Firmament.