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MANY LIVES LOST AND ENORMOUS
DAMAGE IN BUSH FIRES
Hundreds Left Homeless
At least 11 lives are feared to have been lost, hundreds of homes have been
destroyed, and thousands of acres devastated in the most disastrous bush and grass fires since 1939.
Eight of the victims believed burned to death had not been identified as this edition went to press. Those known to be
Mrs Sarah Lugg, 70, who was trapped in the flames while endeavouring to make her way along the road to Wood-
Mr Frank White, 40, contrac- tor, of Birregurra; and
Mr Keith Kneeshaw, farmer, of Werneth. Both died from burns shortly after admit- tance to Colac District Hos- pital.
Four persons were admitted to Colac District Hospital suffer- ing from severe burns. Their condition is serious. They are:
Mr Harold Irons, of Colac; Mr Harold Hodge, of Weering; Mr Clarence Caldow, of Berribank; Mr John Caldow, of Duverney.
Devastation on all sides is re- ported by fire-fighters return- ing from Lismore, which itself was seriously menaced. An SOS was sent to Camperdown for food for 200 people evacuated from surrounding townships of Darlington and Derrimallum, which are re- ported to have been wiped
Flames which encircled Hamil- ton caused a loss of 40 homes, apart from those destroyed in outlying districts. So fierce was the wind that it unroofed buildings and sent iron sheets crashing into the main street. Enormous damage has been done, and business was prac- tically suspended in the town so that thousands of men could fight the flames. Hundreds of people are homeless. The fire exceeded even the damage in the disastrous Black Friday fires of 5 years ago. The countryside is a charred waste, with fence posts and tree stumps throwing a red glare for miles.
At Dunkeld 34 homes were destroyed as a fire swept from Victoria Valley, at the southern end of the Grampians, to Dun- keld, where all children, were evacuated.
The townships of Woodend, Macedon, and Gisborne are threatened by a fire which is sweeping along a 20-mile front. One death has been reported, many have been injured, more than 37 homes have been destroyed, and widespread damage has been caused to
Thousands oí acres were swept by several fires that raged in Colac districts, where a fire- fighter lost his life. They des- troyed 5 homes in Warncoort, where the Methodist Church was gutted; 6 homes in Birre- gurra; and 9 homes in Cressy, where Strathvean Estate was also swept and the homestead destroyed. The fire came to within a mile of Cressy, and even closer to Birregurra, where women and children were eva-
cuated to the river bank.v
Winchelsea was in grave dan- ger last night as the fire to the north was about 8 miles away and rapidly approaching the town. . Hundreds of fire- fighters from Geelong and sur- rounding districts are standing by to protect the township. In the Buckley district 5 houses were destroyed.
While fires were raging in the
country a disastrous outbreak swept from Balcombe rd, Black Rock, along the beach front to« Mentone, destroying many
When the Talbot Colony for Epileptics was threatened by grass fires from Mentone racing toward Clayton rd, Clayton, 4 Civil ambulances were sent to evacuate the inmates, but the fire was checked without neces- sity for removing the patients.
At Beechworth 2 fresh out- breaks sprang up under the in- fluence of yesterday's strong wind. One was quickly quelled, but the other on Wangaratta rd, near Lake Zwarberg, swept rapidly toward the prison set- tlement, and was checked after a long struggle by fire-fighters, military personnel, and pris- oners, who have been fighting flames for the last few days.
First bush fire of the season swept through Neerena, G miles from Leongatha, yesterday. Serious damage was caused to several outbuildings, miles of f. encing, and grass, but no homes were lost. Falling wind at night enabled the outbreak to be quelled.
See Pages 3, 4, and 5.