THE heart of Dunwich was scorched on Saturday, but a strong spirit of hope has risen from the ashes, with locals determined to help post office licensees Brian and Hetty Conlon return to the island.
North Stradbroke Island resident Robyn Mortimer said island residents and business people had met twice this week to discuss how to best help the couple after the weekend robbery and fire that destroyed their business and home.
"We're going to have a Straddie Fundraiser for Brian and Hetty planned for Saturday, August 11," she said.
"It will be held at the Dunwich Sports Club and we're hoping it's going to be a big event."
Robyn said several bands and competitions were on the cards.
"We're planning a cent auction, too, and we're looking for any donations to be auctioned off.
"Sibelco will be funding rides for the kids to enjoy and the local bus company will be giving free transfers from the jetty to the sports club."
Robyn said all proceeds would go directly to the Conlons, who lost all their possessions in the arson attack.
"The Dunwich community wants to give everything back to Brian and Hetty. They are such a lovely and humble couple," she said.
Straddie Super Sports store owner Jim Campbell said the arson attack left many community members angry and disgusted, but now was the time to come together.
"It's the time to consolidate and look forward to the future and make sure nothing like this ever happens again," he said.
"We'll all come together and we'll all be a lot closer since this. We have to get Hetty back on deck because the community won't be the same without her or Brian."
Jim said the Dunwich Post Office was the town centre where locals collected their mail on a daily basis.
"A lot of people on the mainland probably don't know, but everyone has to go to the post office and pick up their mail from there," he said.
"Everyone sees Brian and Hetty there and has a chat. They are the town centre where everyone gets their mail from, does their banking and pays their bills."
Dunwich newsagent owner Di Hawthorne said she was horrified when she heard about the arson attack and couldn't bring herself to drive past the burnt out remains of the post office.
"Everyone's been coming into (the newsagent) and saying how awful it is. You just didn't expect something like this to happen," she said.
"We want to help in anyway we can, so we've already had people come in and sign cards for Brian and Hetty."
Di said 10 cards had been passed onto Brian to give to Hetty, who was staying on the Gold Cotas awaiting surgery following the assault.
Anyone wanting to donate to the cent auction is asked to email Robyn Mortimer at robyn email@example.com, or people wishing to donate to an online appeal can visit www.my cause.com.au/dunwichpostoffice.
Donations can also be made directly to the Redland Open Trust Disaster Relief Fund, BSB 484 799, account number 203 857 476.
All donations will go directly to Brian and Hetty Conlon.