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Mother is a psychological horror inspired by:
… a notorious Adelaide Hills firebug who was sentenced to 13 years prison in 2007 for the deliberate lighting of 21 fires around the town of Harrogate using customised mosquito coils.
$7000 damage was done to fencing and the largest blaze blackened 180ha of land. Residents describe the year before her arrest as a period of terror.
My partner was witness to one of these fires at his family home in Oakbank. He remembers waking up during the night and seeing the fire at the end of the driveway to the property. During interviews with the CFS and the police, he learnt the incident was one in a long string of suspicious fires intentionally lit that summer.
It was believed, at first, that the culprit was male and from Harrogate. Many meetings were called by the local town council to discuss and condemn the terrorising actions of this individual.
The incidents became so serious that locals took to taking shifts, sitting in their cars and monitoring the entry to the town and recording suspicious vehicles passing through.
When White, loving mother of two and one of the most vocal advocates for catching the perpetrator during this time, was convicted, it sent shock waves through the community.
White told the court she had been suffering from post-traumatic stress due to an incident in her childhood, post-natal depression and anxiety.
She remembered watching the blazes but didn’t remember lighting the fires.
She was released on bail in 2016.
Mother didn’t bother finding out my sex, so sure she was that I was a boy. ‘Gave a kick like a ginger hare in a ferret’s mouth,’ she told me once at Christmas, saluting with her empty scotch tumbler. ‘Near broke me ribs.’ As she laughed, the smoke from her Winnie Blues choked the tiny square space of kitchen.
Mosquitoes, a black storm cloud of them, rush the porch, blocking moonlight, wings beating a sound like static, angry humming becoming murderously loud. Once inside, I can hear the pebble bulk of their bodies battering the windows and doors, catching on the thin wire mesh of the fly screen.