Drive through Willung South in Victoria and you may catch sight of the dramatic Castle Mirabilia overlooking the valley.
It looks like a vanity build – but it’s not. It’s a handmade castle erected stone by stone by Reg Fazzani, 84, and it stands as an extraordinary symbol of victory over a long and challenging life.
Reg grew up in England, and remembers being bullied as a teenager during WWII for his Italian surname, and shoving cardboard under his socks to prevent them being damaged by dirt from the holes in his shoes.
He spent 40 days on a boat to get to Australia, where he started out working in a government aircraft factory as a ship metal worker and welder.
He also began building castles. Mirabilia is his third. Reg’s first also built Avalon Castle at Cockatoo – and rebuilt it after it was destroyed in the Ash Wednesday fires.
Reg gave me a tour of Mirabilia and explained how creating this grand buildings has convinced him that anyone can achieve anything they truly set their heart on.