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THE HEAT AND THE

BUSH FIRES.  

FULL PARTICULARS OF THURS-DAY'S

FIRES.    

THE DEVASTATION IN THE DIAMOND CREEK DISTRICT.

GREAT DAMAGE IN THE UPPER

YARRA SETTLEMENTS.  

The pleasant change in the weather and in the direction of the wind which took place on Thursday evening had the effect of check- ing the ravages of the bush fires which broke out in almost all parts of the country, and yesterday it was less difficult to form some idea of the extent of the damage done. Special reporters of The Argus have visited the districts most affected by the fires, and some interesting details are furnished re- specting the state of devastation in some ten square miles of the Diamond Creek district, in portions of Gippsland, and in the Upper Yarra district, where numerous homesteads and country residences of Melbourne citizens have been destroyed, and a great deal of other damage done. Appended are the accounts of our reporters and correspon-

dents :—

THE BUSH FIRES AT DIAMOND

CREEK.

GREAT LOSS OF PROPERTY.

MANY FARMERS RENDERED

HOMELESS.

In the Diamond Creek district a great deal of damage was done by the fires which raged on Thursday, and the saddest feature of the catastrophe is that the greatest sufferer has been the struggling orchard-owner who has quite enough to contend with in the codlin moth, the "rapacious middle- man," as the fruitgrowers describe him, and other pests without having to fight a sea of flames under such appalling circumstances as on Thursday, when they were fanned into fury and driven southwards by a hurricane, and fed by a thick forest of timber and dried up grass. It is bad enough for a man to go on the soil with no capital and suffer the loss of the results of his imme- diate labour, but when he expends his £100 or £200, the hard-earned savings of a life time in making a little home- stead for himself and his family in the country, in planting a few acres   of orchard which, after several years wait- ing and watching, were just about to give him an encouraging return, it is distressing to see all destroyed by fire in less than an hour. A trip through the area of the district affected by the fires shows that many are now in this position, having not only had their orchards destroyed, but their houses and furniture, stables, barns, farming implements, and everything else either burned into cinders or rendered useless. Great stress was laid on the fact by some of the farmers visited yes- terday that they had lost their hay stacks, oats, and chaff — the food supply stowed away in the barn to carry the stock through the hot season — and as the grass had also been burned the future appeared to them to be very gloomy. The fire extended over an area of about ten square miles, not clear- ing the whole of it, however, but leaving   spots here and there entirely untouched. The country is covered with a thick growth of stringy-bark and box saplings, and from   the accounts given the stringy-bark is re- sponsible for much of the harm done. Men left their homes to assist their neighbours to beat back the flames, and returned to find their own houses destroyed, though a quarter of an hour before they thought them perfectly safe. The stringy-bark burned freely, and the wind carried burning shreds of it from hill to hill, in some cases passing over and leaving uninjured valleys and the houses situated in them. One of the most remarkable feats was that almost every man burned out was completely taken by surprise. While engaged reconnoitring the progress of the fire along the grass in one direction they found it had been started in the rear as soon as they turned round, and the speed at which it travelled up and down the hills when once started terrified many, and compelled them to make for the roads with all possible despatch. The rapidity of the fire was generally com- mented on. One of the sufferers calculated that it travelled over a mile of his land in about five minutes, and another said he only saved himself by galloping his horse at full speed. The parties of men who turned out   and courageously beat back the flames where possible, and fought hard to do so where they did not succeed, were at all times enveloped in suffocating smoke. They re- late that sometimes they could not see fur- ther than 10 yards ahead, and that there was nothing easier than to get lost.

On the way to Nillumbik — the centre from which assistance was sent to the sufferers the first instance of disaster presented itself at what is called "Brown's Corner." Mr. Wm. Brown had here an eight-roomed weather- board house, and the place where it stood is a blackened spot, with two chimneys left standing, and some sheets of corrugated iron lying about. All his furniture, clothes, &c., were burned, and of his entire property nothing remains but a dray and a spring-cart. Mr. and Mrs. Brown were absent when the house took fire, and the only occupants were an old lady, Mrs. Brown's mother, and a little girl. The sparks from burning trees on the opposite side of the road set the house in flames. Mr. Brown's house was insured for

£200, but he reckons his loss at £700.   Facing " Brown's Corner " is the residence   of Dr. Dick, a large and picturesque wooden villa, which stands intact, though the fire raged all around. It was simply the efforts of a number of hard workers that saved it from ruin. Mr. George Hodgkinson, whose home is not more than a quarter of a mile distant, had a pitiable experience, for he and his wife and family lost all their belongings except the scanty clothes in which they stood. They only settled in the locality in September last, but had a good six-roomed house, stable,

and coachhouse, storeroom, and man's-room.   All these were reduced to ashes, as were also the sheds, pigsties, &c,. Amongst the losses   was a valuable pony, the fire having come upon the family so suddenly that there was no time to remove the animal from the stable. About fifty fowls were also destroyed, and all the furniture, including a piano which cost 75 guineas. The loss is estimated at nearly £800. In the same locality Mr. Franklin   suffered considerably, and Mr. Brabson was burned out. Further on towards the town- ship of Nillumbik, where some of the tele- graph posts had been burned down, em- ployes of the Telegraph department were engaged restoring the disconnected wire. At Nillumbik Councillors Dawson, Sill, and Holland, of Heidelberg, arrived early in the afternoon with four waggonettes laden with men, as it had been reported that the fire was again breaking out, and the party remained throughout the day at Mrs. Kemp's Royal Mail Hotel ready to respond to any summons. Fortunately, however, their services were not required, the welcome change in the weather having stopped the progress of the fire southwards. Mrs. Kemp's hotel was the rendezvous for all the scouts, amongst them being Councillor Ryan, who was in the saddle all day riding about the district to ascertain whether assistance was needed. Constable Waldron, the local police officer, also worked hard to save property, having been out all day and night on Thursday with a party of about 50 men, Councillor Wadeson was another of the hard-working volunteers, The councillors made some sarcastic re- marks about the Heidelberg Fire Brigade, which, they said, was requested to join the fire-fighters, but failed to do

so.  

A drive through the Upper Diamond Creek

district revealed somee very sad spectacles. The house of James Qualtrough, a man who is incapacitated from work, was destroyed. The fire crossed the road from the north, rushed along an acacia hedge, burned the pigsty and roasted a pig. Then it attacked the house and devoured it in a very short time. Mr. Edward Qualtrough's house,   which is situated in the next paddock, escaped, though the grass was burned all around it, and not more than a stone's throw distant a cottage owned by Mr. Evans also escaped, though the fire raged about it. Mr. Evans and his family were absent at the time. Early in the afternoon the wind veered round to the west and brought the fire with it into the property of Dr. Lurz, which is tenanted by Mr. J. Heffernan. The house, with outhouses and stable, was destroyed, as well as an orchard of several acres. Mr. Heffernan lost his furniture, £6 in notes, his watch and chain, his clothes except what he was wearing, and a stack- of hay. The house of Mrs. Mills on the opposite side of the road was surrounded by flames, and clouds of sparks blew over it, yet the house escaped in a miraculous manner. Seven acres of fruit trees in full bearing were destroyed, and about 1,500 young trees in another part of the grounds. As in many other instances, the furniture was removed to the road for safety, and remained there till the pleasant change in the weather took place. In the same neighbourhood the fire surrounded Mr. Wm Scott's house, but Mrs. Scott, in the absence of her husband, fought hard and saved it. When Mr. Scott returned he found the house uninjured, but his wife exhausted. Mr. William Leach lost six acres of fruit trees in full bearing, and a good deal of post and rail fencing. Mr. J. Glester, a recent arrival in the district, was living in a large tent, and lost everything except an old arm, chair. He was ill, but was removed from the tent before the flames reached it. One of the heaviest losers is Mr. E. T. Peers, who had a very fine orchard, covering about 50 acres. All his storehouses, stables, haysheds full of hay - and two miles of fencing were destroyed, two of his horses were burned, and the orchard has been seriously damaged. He rejoices that he built his residence near the township instead of at the orchard. He states that he was one of the first to discover the fire, and to strive against it. It travelled so fast that it soon enveloped him, and with great difficulty he saved his life. As he rode, through the bush he noticed the birds drop- ping from the trees, us if suffocated with smoke. Mr.. Charles Tanner lost 60 acres of grass, a weatherboard cottage, 40 bags of chaff, and a large quantity of oats and hay. The horse he was riding had lost nearly the whole of his mane and tail. Mr. Patrick Sheahan lost 120 acres of post-and-rail fencing, a set of harness, all his farming im- plements, a barn with about eight tons of hay, a quantity of oats and chaff, and all his outhouses and stables and about an acre of orchard. He estimates his loss at £400 or £500. Mr. J. J. M'lver, a tenant of Miss Doherty's, had a terrible struggle to save his house. His coachhouse and hay-shed were destroyed, and the fire burned portion of the verandah of the house. His wife and five children had to be- take themselves to the creek, and remained there in suspense for some time, not being able to see on account of the smoke whether the house was saved or not. About four miles of post and rail fencing was more or less burned. Mr. W. R. Dill had his house and a good deal of fencing burned down. All Miss Doherty's fencing, surrounding about 300 acres, was destroyed, but a number of young men with stout hearts beat the fire back from the house. The house of Mr. Collin, son of Mr. L. F. Collin, the importer of pianos, as was previously stated,was saved by hard work and perseverance, but five or six acres of orchard were severely damaged. Mr. John Butler lost about two miles and a half of fencing, and Mr. J. Sill had his house, stables, outhouses, dairy, fencing, and a small orchard destroyed. Those who have suffered by the fire have noted one thing particularly, and that is the   remarkable manner in which the wire fences withstood the flames. The post-and-rail fences succumbed, but the wire fences re- main as sound as when erected. The origin   of the fire, which is said to have broken out in two places - at Morang and at Hazel Glen - and travelled towards the Kangaroo Grounds, is attributed by some to careless- ness on the part of settlers clearing their land and by others to picnic parties. Last night the fire was burning at Linton's but in other places it was merely smoulder- ing. The residents of the Diamond Creek district, pray that there shall be no recurrence of Thursday's weather, lest the whole district, including the township of Nillumbik, should be destroyed. In the meantime the parties of men will be in readiness in case they should be required.

It was incorrectly reported yesterday that Mr. Wicker, poultry-farmer, had been burned out. The fire went very near his property,

but no loss was incurred.

DESTRUCTION OF A LARGE HOMESTEAD NEAR BROADFORD.

BROADFORD, FRIDAY.

A disastrous bush fiie broke out yesterday about three miles east of Broadford, in the direction of Reedy Creek. The greatest sufferers, so far as, is known, are Messrs. Doran and Son, whose whole homestead was completely destroyed. It consisted of a five roomed weatherboard house and outbuild- ings, all of which were uninsured. Messrs. Smith, Waite, Whiteman, English, and others have also lost a considerable quantity of grass and fences. Mr. Doran, sen., who is very old and feeble, managed to escape by crawling into the garden.

THE DAMAGE ALONG THE

GREAT SOUTHERN LINE.

The damage done by fires along the Great   Southern line is not so severe as was at first believed when it was known that the fires had made their appearance at so many points. The loss, however, though it may not look severe when assessed in pounds, shillings, and pence, is of a peculiarly dis- couraging character, and amongst those burned out arc a number of poor men with families who had only lately established homes-as a first step towards a possibly prosperous future. The cause of mischief in this district was a number of separate fires, originating, ns bush fires often do, in a settler's "burn-off." The burning is so im   portant an operation in the settler's annual work oil new land that ii good or bud "burn''

often means the difference between success- fully holding on to land and abandoning it after a struggle. The settler anxious for a good burning-off naturally selects a day   equally favourable for bush fires, and is not disposed as a rule to give much thought to his neighbours' interests where his own are so directly concerned. Knowing the harm he may do, however, the settler as a rule keeps silent about his burning-off operations, and rather prefers that fires should be attributed to spontaneous combustion, or any other equally improbable cause.

The worst of the fires along the Great Southern line occurred at Korumburra, and here one wonders not so much at the destruc- tion wrought, which a few hundred pounds will cover, us at the narrow escape from destruction of the greater part of the town. The fire started amongst some scrub at the north-west side of the town, and with the change of wind travelled rapidly towards the Coal Creek mine, the poppet heads of which   are a prominent land-mark near the town.   After several houses had narrowly escaped destruction the flames reached "Jump town," so called because it was at one time assumed to be land available for the miners, instead of, as it proved afterwards, part of the town survey. A number of houses, owned for the most part by workers in the mines, were scattered over this area. Before this point was reached two new houses, owned by Mrs, Clark mid the Misses Young, had a very narrow- escape, for although bluckene'd with smoke and stand- ing now in the midst ol fallen trees, they were not otherwise injured. The chief difficulty of burning nliend of the lire lay in the fact that the smoke vvns so dense that those working in it were almost suffocated. One man in ti)mg to save 11 house owned by Mrs. II).ims was overcome with the

smoke, and remained unconscious for n couple of hours. The chief losses in this locality were those of James Rutherford, a single man, who had his house and furniture burned. ,Tohn Bald, who has a wife and'lourchildren, lost everything, this being a peculiarly dis- tressing case in that Bald had only just finished his house. Win. Dwctt and John Shniples, each of whom has a wife and four children, lost everything, and Mr. Blackwell, who has a wife and four children, was equally unfortunate, included in his loss being a sum of money intended as part of the payment for his recently-completed home. A great number of men working about the mines have lind their tents destroyed. Al- though to one familiar with the ruins of a great fire in the city the little heaps of curled up bedsteads, with a sewing-machino and other trilles, look insignificant, tbey have for tile reasons stated-viz., the poverty of their owners' and the fact that the houses de- stroyed were perhaps the first which the occupants had been able to call their own a pathetic interest, The whole of the trouble about Kortimbuini lins originated in the loose practice of surveying township sites and selling allotments betöre the land has been cleared. AVere the whole Bpacc cleared to begin with the cost would be recouped the state in the increased prices, since those intending to build early would have some ussurance of safety. As it is, many buy on the outskirts only with the intention of holding on for increased values, and their blocks are n menace to their more progressive neighbouis. But for an opportune change of wind most of the miners' cottages must have been destroyed.

Following down the line at Bena, Jeetho, Loch, and Nyora, there ure evidences of severe fires at every point. At Jeetho, Air. Brown's sawmills and a stock of sawn timber were burned, but upart from this there is no heavy Iobs in the locnlity. Up towards Poo- wong and along AI'Donald'a Track there are many sufferers from the fires, nnd in these remoto districts it may be feared tho full ex-' tent of the damage has. yet to be, reported. Messrs., G. Cock. ,and W. Parker, two Bingle menf who work a large farm, were completely burned out close to Poowong. On AI'Donald's Track Alesijrs, W, Glover, T.

G. Scott,.hud ,J. A. Wallace, Dunlop.have.aji: lo.tithpir.crpps/foithe districtiisa late one! for-hay,- and-.tho oats were still standing. At' Eilst:Poowong, Mr. Edward Peterson and his family w.cre burnt out bo suddenly that they were-unable to save anything. Included in his loss,.was a small clip of wool which he' had .arranged a few days before to have carted to the railway. . The lire in this direc-

tion ia supposed to have originated in the, bum-off of a settler named Sub midt. Further up AI'Donald'a Track in the direction of Warragul andDrouintherearereportsof heavy fires, and people from Drouin were unable to get through toPoovvongon 1'riday. Asahovving the hopelessiiCBS of attempting to battle with a forest fire it may be mentioned that in many instances streamers of burning bark were curried half a mile uheud of the main bulk of Hame, ficsh fires being thus con- stantly started, and the falling trees on partly-cleared land were an element of Berious danger. In many instances the fires have really done moro good than liiirin.

Still nearer Melbourne, in the Koo-wee-rup swamp, the scene is one ol complete deso- lation from the picturesque point of view,

, but in moat cuses not objectionable to the, practical niau. Although the Railway depart- ment lins had a great deal of its fencing burned, the fires here will ptove rather beneficial than otherwise, provided they are confined to swamp hinds only. '

EFFECTS IN THE UPPER YARRA

DISTRICT.

NUMEROUS HOUSES BURNT.

LILYDALE. FRIDAY.

For the past week we have been ex- periencing very hot weather, and yesterday was the hottest day this season,   and many old residents aver that it was almost as bad as the famous Black Thurs-

day. At 11 o'clock signs of fire were discovered in the valley of the Yarra near   Christmas Hills. At noon it could be seen that several fires of large dimensions were raging in the Olinda Valley and close to the foot of the Dandenong Ranges. South Wandin, Gruyere, Clear Hills, Warburton, and Healesville also gave signs during the afternoon of' large bush fires in their imme- diate vicinity. About 1 o'clock a messenger arrived from Mr. David Mitchell, Stingy bark Station, at Cave Hill, and reported that the whole of the grass paddocks were on fire. Mr. C. Mitchell quickly assembled all the available hands and had them conveyed to the scene of the conflagration. A number of valuable cattle were in the paddocks, and they were at once removed to a place of safety. The men then turned their attention to endeavouring to stem the course of the fire, nndnftera long and hard buttle they wcic partly successful. A lot of fencing was also destro)cd on this estate. The grass was of splendid quality, and was about 2lt. in 'height. On the opposite side of the road is Councillor John Kerr's pastures. Here was to be seen one of the finest crops of grass in tho district, and gicat care had been taken of it tor feed during tlie coming winter. The file got into this in a very short time ; vvhnt was pieviously a beautiful prairie of magnificent grass was black dust. A large hill is in the selection, on the brow of which was n four-rooinecl house. This was entirely demolished, nnd fortunately was unoccupied. Mr. Kerr also lost a quantity of fencing. At Cnliilltown, better known ns South Gruyere, a six-roomed house, owned by a Mr. Abbott and oc- cupied, by Mr. Wilson, who until recently can ¡ed on the business of a cordial manufac- turer at Collingwood, was, together with out- buildings, entirely consumed. Mr. Wilson barely had time to effect his escape, and estimates his loss at £300. At Seville South an exciting scene took place. The fire was racing in the pasture of Mr. Read, and was making rapid progress towards the home- stead. Mr. J. Burgi and several others as- sembled to render assistance. Whilst this band was striving to save the home- stead the fire was making great headway towards Mr Burgi's residence. Seeing the approaching dnnger the ladies of the house gallantly went to work, and moved all the portable articles from the barn and stables, and then commenced to remove the furniture from the house. Having done all that was possible at Mr. Read's, the volunteer party made all haste to Mr. Burgi's, and made an attack on the fire. A few minutes after their arrival the wind changed, and the fire was got under control. A three-roomed house on the selection of Mr. M. Supple was   destroyed during the conflagration, as also was a quantity of grass and fencing. News comes from Warburton that Mr. J. Houlihan's residence was destroyed by fire, as also was the villa at Blackwood-park, recently purchased by Mr. Albert Miller from Mr. D. Crichton. Mr. E: M. Payner, an old resident of Lilydale, who owns a selection at Beenak, had his house, furniture, and a quantity of live stock destroyed. At South Wandin it is reported that the farm of Mr. W. J. Parker has been completely swept away, the loss being put down at £3,000. Snakes are said to be swimming in myriads to the Olinda Geek, taking shelter from the fire. At night the scene on Dandenong Ranges was very pretty, being like a pyrotechnic display. It is reported that a   number of farmers have been burned out in the Yarra Glen district, but nothing definite is to hand. To-day the weather has been cooler, a nice S.W. breeze blowing.  

FROM TALLAROOK TO MANS-

FIELD.

GREAT DESTRUCTION OF

PROPERTY.

Along the valley of the Goulburn from Tallarook to Yea, and in the watershed of the Devil's Creek and the Broken River, between Woodfield and Mansfield, the fierce heat and the devastating fire of Thursday have left their marks. The whole face of the country is black and desolate, and the loss of grass, of produce, of household property, and of stock is equal to many thousands ot pounds, and in some

cases is quite irremediable, and must result in the total ruin of tho sufferers, Taking the railway train running between Tallarook and Mansfield as the point of observation from which the destruction of the fire is viewed, after Trawool is passed the smoke renders the atmosphere heavy and stifling. Just beyond   Kerrisdale and between it and Home-   wood the fire is first met with. Here, on the 6th inst,, in a paddock belonging to Mr. Hamilton, and situated in the parish of Doogalook, the fire was started by tramps on the north side of the line. The wind was southerly, and carried the flames to the railway line, where they were quickly mastered. One of the burning trees fell upon dry long grass on Thursday, when the north wind was hottest and fiercest, and in a twinkling the fire had commenced again, and leaving the railway line and the roadway it rushed away to the southward over the Plenty Ranges into the heart of the King Parrot Creek country, and on towards the Yea River reaches. Soon after its commencement the occupants of Bryant's Hotel, at Doogalook, considering themselves safe, went to give assistance to their neighbours. While they were away the wind chopped round a point or two, and the fire had burnt the grass right up to the build- ing when a railway ganger and a sundowner noticed the danger, and saved the hotel. By 3 o'clock or so the wind changed right round, and the fire, which had eaten its way down 10 or 12 miles to the south of the line, waa turned back again, and doubling in its track got round as far as Yea, and was only got under control late at night. In the course of this fire almost every square yard of grass on Mr. J. B. Hamilton's Doogalook Station of about 8,000 acres was burned, and for miles around him the grass and the fencing and much of the stock have been destroyed. Mr. Homewood's homestead, near the Homewood station, was saved, though the flames swept up to the door, but Mr Rice, a settler whose house crowned a hill on the left, was burnt out while ho was assisting his neighbours. Earlier in the day   the house was saved from what appeared to be inevitable destruction by the efforts of Senior-constable Alexander, Constable Polin— cay,Mr. J. T. Daly, state school teacher, and   others. Mr. John Drysdale, of Dairy Creek, lost his woolshed, Mr Van de Plank his piggery and many of his pigs ¡ while Mr. Williamson, dairyman, Homewood, Mr. Delahunty, Homewood, Mr. William Ander- son, grazier, near Yea, and Mr. Webster, Yea, were only saved horn the destruction of their homesteads by the narrowest possible chances. The state school at Homewood had a particularly narrow escape. The fire burned right round it, but the children and the teacher worked gallantly, and were rewarded by saving the main building, though an out- house was burned. Several bridges and many culverts in the neighbourhood were burned, and the council will therefore have to encounter nu expense of probably £800 or £1,000 to replace them.

From Yea to near Bonnie Doon the country escaped. At Doon, however, the fire was responsible for heavy damage, and n scene of. desolation which vividly recalls Black Thursday. Starting at 9 o'clock on Thurs- day near the railway line, and just outside Doon, the fire was carried over the hills, south to Wappan and east towards Maindample. The township was saved by dintof hard work and the direction of the wind, yet the Catholic Church and the l'rotestont-liall were both scorched with the llames that Btirged round them. Over the hills to the south, along the Delatite River for a distance of about 14 miles, the llames held sway all day nnd until the change of wind beat them back tovv-aids Maindample. Mr. Maxwell, Mr. Thomas, Mr. Stanley, and Mr. 1'ioud lost all their grass paddocks, fences, and many sheep ¡ Mr! Cummins, Mr. Kennedy (COO sheep), Mr. Brunsden, and Mr. Arbuthnot lost grass, fences, sheep, outhouses, and haystacks ; und Mrs. Bon, ot the Wappan Station, grass, fences, haystacks, outhouses, and ,3,000 Bhcep. In all these cases, the graziers mentioned really only saved their homesteads and the major por- tion of their stock. Everything else went .down before the rush of the Humes, which

raced along the hills at railway speed, and indeed nt one point were actually observed keeping abreast of a locomotive engine.

lu the afternoon, while the fire which started at Bonnie Doon was working its way into the heart of the Goulburn River country, another which lind started at Maindample, a few mile'B further on, early that morning was travelling round to join with it in the work of destruction. The Dalrymple fire was first noticed about 3 o'clock in the morning, and, in the absence of any other explanation, is set down to swagsmen and their carelessness. It started near Mr. M'Kie's log fence at the ruilway line, and before Mr. M'Kie could take steps to protect himself all the out- houses, ever) thing save the homestead, was burned to the ground. In the losses were in- cluded 02 bugsof grain, just bagged, outhouses, straw stacks, stables, sheds, &u, Mr. Fmkle bti'in, the president of the local shire council, saved his house by ploughing all round it. Mr. Hutchison was much harder pressed, The fire swept down on his house in a solid wall, and but for the heroic work of twenty or thirty neighbours, who stood in the fuce of the Hame and fought it hand to hand, it must have perished.

The Bonnie Doon and Maindample fires conjoined in tho afternoon, and travelled eastward to join another which had com- menced in the afternoon at Mr. Ricketson station, Mount Delatite, at Mansfield. The Haines commenced nt the old saw-mill, near Reid's-lune, at 10 o'clock in the morning, and before the inhabitants of Mansfield, who turned out en niasse, could get the flames under control a strip of country ubout six miles by three or four was burned off. In the fire several hundred sheep and ' many buildings were burned, and the new wool- shed was saved after the flames had scorched the outside of them.

THE DEVASTATION IN THE

WARRAGUL DISTRICT.

HUNDREDS OF ACRES OF

CROPS CONSUMED.

SEVERAL HOMESTEADS EN-

TIRELY DEMOLISHED._

WAKKAGUL, Fhiday.

The entire district is still enwrapped in a cloud of smoke, and although the conflagra- tions are abating generally they have been

raging fiercely in parts thioùghout the dtiy. The Warragul Fire Brigade, which was sum- moned nt 1 o'clock yesterday, did not return to the' township till close upon midnight. Tiley bpent the greater portion of the time saving Alonnghnn's homestead, shunted off the main road leading to Brandy Creek, and the description of their experiences recited by Captain Fowler mid Lieutenant Anderson show that they performed an almost super- human task. Monughan's is a valuable farm. The brigade have to-day transferred their cIToits to the faun of Councillor Irwin, of Bloomfield, who is, unfortunately, a heavier loser than at first supposed. Instead of hav- ing lost only Iii acres, as stated in the first leport, lie has lost 40 acres of oats nnd 12 acres of peas, in addition to many chains of fencing and vulujble gross. The fire is still on his property, and this afternoon another 10-acrc paddock of oats was ignited. The llamas, however, were kept under by the brigade, mid only about three acie3 of the grain were destroyed. The remainder, how- ever, is in imminent peril from the showers of sparks from falling limbs. The brigade will, theicforc, remain on thespot. In this locality Gray lins been entirely burnt out, so fur ns his ciops and outbuildings nnd fences and grnss are concerned. Only the house remains, and a similar disaster has overtaken Air. C. Smyth, son of the Crown Prosecutor, who had garnered in a magnifi- cent harvest, and had his homestead in splendid condition. Moffatt also lives in the vicinity, but the report at first circulated that his place lind been completely de- molished turns out to be nn exaggeration, lie lina escaped with the lobs of a few acres of ants nnd a quantity of fencing. Stribling, on the Brandy Creek lond, has lind I!) chains of fencing destioyed, but luekil) his crops wuie eut and btored before

the outbreak, and thus escaped destruction. | A little further off the fire is spreading on the magnificent farm owned by the hue Mr. John Rogers, and a constant watch husito be kept to protect the property from danger. At Brandy Creek, a farmer named Skinner has had his homestead entirely devastated. His

house and crops are nil burnt] nnd Mrs. Skinner had to escape in her)nightdress.

Skipper, of Jindivick, hau also had his

place reduced to ruins, and all his grain con-

sumed, whilst Hardy, on Lardners Track, has lost 60 acres of oats and a largp quantity of fencing. In the neighbourhood of Darnum the country was ablaze in all directions, but with the exception of Streitberg, who lost all

his splendidly-appointed buildings,- 20 tons of hay, and 5 tons of ensilage, no damage is re- ported beyond the destruction of miles of fencing. Itisverydifficulttoestimatethctotol loss sustained by tho furmers, but the figure cannot full short of several thousand pounds. It is the greatest disaster that has ever befallen the district, and the destruc- tion wrought-is the more extensive because of the exceptionally bountiful harvest. Last night the township was completely deserted, consequent on almost the entire populace going out to look at the fire, which wa3 ragingmoreparticularly.vvith terrific violence, between Warragul and Brandy Creek, The rises commanded nn uninterrupted view of miles of timber in full blaze.

GRASS FIRES IN THE GOUL

BURN VALLEY.

NUAIURKAH, FmnAY.

Immense grass fires are rnging in the vicinity of Tocumwal, on the other side of the river. One has been burning near the town for the past three days, it having been Btorted by some sheep-drovers, who neg- lected to extinguish a camp fire. Air. Turner, a selector, Iiob lost grass and fencing, 1,500 acres of grass bas been consumed on the property of Air. Looney, while on Al'Farlane. Cocomah run the fire has demolished 8,000 acres of grass. Some twenty milea beyond Tocum- wal another "-fire; Iiob been burning for the past week,- the principal -'sufferers being, according to yesterday's reports, Mr. Ilillson, of Woperana Station,' Air. Ricketson,' of Aratula and Canalla Stations ; Air. AI'Laren, of Alorocco Station ; ,rind Air. Faulkner, of Tuppal Stution. A number of sheep are said to have been destroyed on these runs. ' . .

MINOR REPORTS FROM THE

COUNTRY.

BENALLA, Friday.

Yesterday a disastrous bush fire broke out at Swanpool, near Benalla, and did consider- able damage. It started in a selection owned by Mr. Honex, and, aided by the high wind which prevailed, spread with lightning rapidity, all efforts to suppress the fire being powerless. The damage so for has been con- fined to the destruction of grass and fencing, and amongst the principal sufferers nre Wm. Heaney, 700 acres ; Tully Bros., 500 acres and dwelling ; C. Honex, 300 acres ; Wm. Ginnivan, 50 acres ; Mrs. Dobson, 100 acres ; and Bishoff Bros., 200 acres. The fire, which is still burning, covers a large area of country, and fears are entertained that it will cause further damage should a south wind spring up, which is now threaten ing.

CONDOBOLIN, Fmday.

Bush fires have been raging in this district for many weeks, and continue to break ou. in fresh places with monotonous regularity. The anxiety on the part of lessees and selectois to get rid of scrub is the explanation of their frequency, nnd the results are often disastrous. The town lins been enveloped in dense smoke nil day. This is the fourteenth day of continuous heat, the thermometer registering from lOOdeg. to HOdeg. To-day it was at lOldeg. Water is becoming very scarce in the back country, and rain ia badly wanted. Selectors are already buying chaff for their homes. The river ia at 7ft., und ia falling.

DAYLESFORD, FniDAY.

The weather for the last few days has been very hot, and bush fires are springing up in nil directions, but so far no damage to cropB or dwellings is reported.

DROUIN, FntDAY,

A personal inspection of the country through which the bush fires have passed showed that a vast area ot country has been devestatcd. Beginning at Blggs's property,

ncur Drouin, the tire passed through that of,

Mr. T. Carlile, where the house, crops, and fencing, valued nt £000, were totally de- stroyed. Mr. Warfe also lost a lot of fencing. The lire then passed through u property of Messrs. Hamilton and Co., rented by the Messrs. Skinner, destroying the house. Messrs. Plummridge und Skinner had their fencing and crops destroyed. Mr. W. H. de Skipper lost his house and all the contents, together with fencing.

At the Red Hill village settlement nterrible scene of disaster meets the eyes of the spec- tator. The file has been through the whole of the property. Mr, D. M'Donald, one of the settlors, lost everything, and his wile had a narrow escape of being burnt to death. Mr. A. Wade loses about £20 worth of pro- perty, including his bedding, clothing, and gulden. Mr. E, Clifford had his house and tent, with most of the contents, destroyed, and ii number of others lost their gardens and fencing. The potato crop at the settlement lias been burnt, and the whole of the bricks, the labour of months, have been destroyed. The wells have been completely dried up, and altogether the fire has wrought a vast amount of damage, the total extent of which it is impossible at present to ascertain. The country for miles around is still ublazc, and heavy clouds of smoke overhang the town. Should the wind rise a great deal more dumngc.will lesult.

GEELONG, FniDAY.

Information was received here to-day of an extensive tire which occurred near the Mount Moriac railway Btation yesterday, shortly after the train from Geelong to Colao passed the locality. During the day the (he con- sumed COO acres of grass and several miles of fencing on the Ravenswood Estate, 200 acres of grass in the paddocks of Mr. J. R, Hopkins, 300 acres of grass and several chains of fencing on the property of J. and H. Hunt, and 100 acres of grass and three miles of fencing on the property of Mr. Murray.

LANCEFIELD, FniDAT.

The township bus been enveloped in clouds of smoke for some days, and two spiall bush fires have occurred close to the town. Though there is nn abundance ot dry grliss every whcie not much damage bus bo far been cuuscdi

SWAN niLL, FniDAY.

An accident that might have ended fatally happened in the mallee about twenty-live miles from here to-day. A waggon drawn by six horses, belonging to Mr. Edward Las- celles, of Tyrell Station, loaded with about live tons of merchandise, was proceeding thither when overtaken by a bush fire. The (hiver had just time to save himself and the horses before the fiâmes caine upon them. The waggon and load were entirely con- sumed, the only muik of their previous exist- ence being the tyres amongst the ashes,

WALHALLA, FniDAY.

Yesterday tho weather was extremely hot, and the thermometer registered lOldcg. in

tlie shade. A terrille liles occurred in thnt pait of Walhalla known na Mormon Town. The lire was caused by some grass burning. It Bprend to a stack of wood, comprising some SOO cords, which immediately caught fire. The heat was so terriliu that a house owned and occupied by Mr. Mitchell was burned to the ground in a few minutes. The huts of threu Italians were also burned.

About two milos of wood tramway belonging to the Long Tunnel Extended Gold-mining Com- pany were destroyed. So great was the lire and smoke arising therefrom that the township of Walhnlln was completely enveloped in smoke from 2 o'clock in the afternoon until dink.

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