THE heart of the city’s underground music and art scene has stopped beating after a fire ripped through the former Morrow Park Bowling Club at Wickham.
Affectionately known as the Moz by hundreds who used its land and resources, it was reduced to a wreck of tin and asbestos.
Five people ran for their lives.
It’s suspected a candle sparked the flames about 2am yesterday.
‘‘I can’t even fathom it,’’ lessee Zackari Watt said.
‘‘It is like that old adage, until it is gone you don’t recognise.’’
The former bowling club became a mecca for alternative artists and musicians when Mr Watt and other members of the Signor Piggy Wigg Productions took over the lease.
They built a recording studio, with the large buildings and storage areas also used to keep countless pieces of musical equipment, including a baby grand piano estimated to be worth $30,000.
There were also hundreds of costumes and props, scores of original soundtracks and other ‘‘priceless’’ items. Then there was the recording and video equipment as well as hard drives that were lost.
None of the treasure trove was believed to have been insured.
‘‘I know there was a vivid scene here and there were a lot of people doing a lot of things,’’ Mr Watt said. ‘‘I know that by only a couple of degrees of separation everyone would have benefited somehow.
‘‘... I would say in terms of significance, I can’t think of anything else like it that has been so valuable an asset and I just can’t fathom how it is going to be replaced.’’
A Transport for NSW spokesman confirmed it had leased the property to private tenants since August 2005. The spokesman said the lease agreement ‘‘clearly outlines’’ the building was to be used for a commercial purpose, including storage, office and an art/music space.
Mr Watt denied suggestions there was no power or running water, repeating that they had had a good relationship with the property managers for the entirety of the lease agreement.
‘‘It was sort of a hub, or an incubation base for all the arts and culture that sort of fell off the radar,’’ he said. ‘‘It was well-used and well-loved because it was so unusual to have a space so close to town with such vast area of land.’’