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 186 Victims of Fire and Heat




The blackest days of fire and heat in Australia's history have been responsible for the deaths of 186 persons in New South Wales and Victoria.

The discovery of the charred remains of 43 people in Victoria on Saturday brought the grim total for the State to 78. Gripped in the terrible heat wave in the eerie light caused by palls of smoke   from a thousand outbreaks, residents of both States had to fight fires in almost every district.

Many settlements have been wiped out, whilst the loss of property and stock is tremendous.

SYDNEY, Sunday.      

Yesterday's record heat caused 15 deaths in the State. Five people col- lapsed and died in country districts and six experienced the same fate in the city and suburbs. A man was killed in a bush fire at Nowra and two others were burnt to death near Liverpool, whilst the body of a man was found to-day at Castle Hill. He had been trapped in a fire on Satur- day.  

These tragic happenings brought the death roll of the Commonwealth for the past week from the heat wave and bush fires to 172.

Fifty suburban and week-end   homes were destroyed by fires, the most extensive damage being in the Port Hacking district.

Thirty-five homes were damaged at Moss Vale and 34 at Castle Hill. At one stage it looked as though Mitta- gong would be destroyed, but the town was saved through the efforts  

of volunteers.

Fanned by the southerly wind a fire broke out at Dapto and the whole of the mountains in that area were soon alight.

Western and southern districts were isolated as a result of tele- phone wires being brought down, whilst 25 lines to Melbourne were out of operation.

In a blaze which swept thousands of acres of land at Nowra, J. Roach, an old age pensioner, was burnt to death. The remains of Percival Davis, 33, of Box Hill, and a boy, believed to be "Snowy" Metcalf, of Moree, were found at Box Hill. It is be- lieved that they were asleep in a shack when fire raced down upon


At Nowra the damage was esti- mated at £6,000.  

Six men risked their lives in a three hour battle to prevent fires reaching a gelignite magazine at the Warragambah Water Board camp. It is believed that the settlement is   now safe.

Wallacia was endangered when a fire leapt the Nepean River at sev- eral points, but the flames were got

under control.

Thousands of pounds worth of dam- age resulted at Maitland. The Pres- byterian Church, public school and several residences were destroyed at Seaham, while at Nelligen two churches and eight houses were de-


The death roll in New South Wales has now reached 24. Six died from   heat conditions to-night, two being from Newcastle and four from Singleton.

A further two deaths from heat were reported to-day from Orange.

Bathurst today was surrounded by bush fires, which are being fought by 1,000 volunteers.

At Trunkey the fire which covered a 30 miles front swept through the township despite the efforts of the fire fighters to deflect its course. One man was burnt to death.  

After his dog wandered into the   bush, the badly burned body of   William Smith, aged 74, was found     in the path of the fire, which gutt- ered the township.

Late last night, the body of George Harold Wallace, aged, 42, was found in a lane at the rear of the Rook- wood cemetery. He had evidently collapsed as a result of the heat.

In the Bathurst district, it was es-

timated that 100 stock had been des-   troyed.      

Temperature in Sydney had fallen to 44 degrees below yesterday's maxi- mum of 113.6 degrees. This is a re-


The State Metorologist (Mr. Mares) believes that rain is imminent.  


The small township of Penrose on the main railway line between Goulburn and Sydney was wiped out, 23 houses being destroyed by


The general store was com-   pletely gutted, and a petrol bow- ser was ignited by the flames and exploded.

All residents escaped from the   township without injury. The Post Office was also burnt out and communication with other centres suspended.

Numerous outbreaks were reported

in the Goulburn district and round

Braidwood and Taralga. The Town   ship of Bannister reported the des-

truction of several buildings.    

At Kenmore, near Goulburn, a cot- tage was destroyed by fire.  



After two days fighting with the flames, a band of about 120 fire- fighters succeeded in checking a fire on a 16 mile front which swept from Bombay to Warral in the Braidwood


The fire got out of control on Satur- day morning with the rising heat and wind, but reinforcements gave the fighters a new strength to hurl back

the tide of flames.

The fire advancing on Braidwood crossed the Shoalhaven River, but was stopped five miles from the town.

Some remarkable saves of property were effected, but there were heavy losses of stock.

On the holding of Mr. Daniels, the fire destroyed everything except ten acres round the homestead and all the stock are believed to have perished. Fire fighters saw eight cattle des- troyed in a heap.

At Nellingen, eight houses, three   churches and a wattle bark mill con- taining £2,000 of bark were destroyed.


Bush fires menaced the town of Picton. Fences in the town were burnt and only valiant efforts saved the

town from destruction.

Burning scrub and grass surround- ed the Queen Victoria homes at Thirl- mere, and over 50 women patients were prostrated by the heat and shock. They had to be hastily re-



The bush stretching north to Palm Beach and Barrenjoey was alight in hundreds of places.

About Mona Vale and Newport and along big stretches of the Hawkes-   bury hills, the fire field raged.

The scrub around Bankstown and outer suburbs in this neighbourhood was burning fiercely. Guildford,

Chatswood, Croydon, Sefton Park, Petersham and Earlwood all reported



At midday yesterday a fierce blaze approached Bowral from the direc- tio of Bendooley, near Berrima, and as it raced into the Mittagong and Bowral area it menaced many well- known guest houses.  

It is reported that many places be- tween Cutaway Hill and Mittagong have been destroyed.


Sydney was isolated from all the South Coast and western towns at a late hour last night.

Several serious outbreaks occurr- ed on the Blue Mountains, and at Valley Heights, it is believed that several people were seriously burnt.

At Windsor, Mrs. A. Newhan was trapped in a cottage with her three weeks' old baby. She was burnt on a leg before being rescued and ad- mitted to Windsor Hospital with her baby, which was suffering from ex-




The death roll in Victoria as a result of the heat and bush fires was brought to 78 yesterday, after the charred remains of 43 people were   discovered.  

Victoria's death roll as a result of fires and heat wave conditions was added to to-day by the death of 14 people at Wood's Point timber mill in the Gippsland district.

At Yallands, another mill four miles away, rescue parties found six people alive after a harrowing experience.

Abertheldie, north of Walhalla, was wiped out. Residents fought the flames until the last moment and then fled to a mine tunnel, taking with them three men who were badly burnt. Two of these, R. Bolton and C. Newtown, later died.

Special trains were run to fight the fires in the Upper Murray.

Survivors had a terrible night at Brown's Mill, 13 miles from Noogee where the people saved themselves by getting into a dam.

More than £50,000 has been sub- scribed to the relief fund.