Frank & Elisabeth Fekonia

Frank Fekonia

Posted March 7, 2011 by  & filed under PRI News.

by Frank Gapinski

I was very sad to hear of 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 Slovenia in the early 1960s 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 50s, 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.

Vídeo de YouTube

More YouTube Videos of Frank & Elisabeth here

When we met Frank and Elisabeth we made the above little YouTube video for fun, about how he built his home from recyclable materials – like the window frames he re-purposed to use in his balcony. The YouTube video was a hit and still remains the most popular amongst all our 60 odd Permaculture and Aquaponics video clips on YouTube.

Frank was always himself — a real innovator with an infectious laugh. He had a joie de vivre attitude to life and great 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 rubbish dump (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, was to him an elemental and natural thing that you should do.

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 accordion player but a rare character in the permaculture firmament.

More YouTube Videos of Frank & Elisabeth here