Fire on the Limestone Plains/Bush Fires/The Limestone Plains 1825 to 1911

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The early records regarding the number and extent of bushfires in the colony of New South Wales [1] rely on various newspaper articles that recorded these events. The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser [2] in its Agricultural Report for January 1833 in County Argyle reports “the country is everywhere burnt up, and presents a most desolate and dreary appearance; bush fires have spread in every direction to an unusual extent, and scarce a vestige of vegetation remains; ”. Again The Sydney Morning Herald [3] reported very extensive bush fires in the Goulburn area. A serious bush fire was recorded in the Gunning area in the 1854 by The Goulburn Herald and County of Argyle Advertiser[4] - “In the neighbourhood of Gunning the fires ranged with great fury, and we have been assured by an eye-witness that he travelled 32 miles with almost insupportable bush fires on each side of him. They extended from Mrs. Howell's station on the Brewer road to within two miles of Gunning.” In 1858 serious bushfires were again reported in the Yass district by The Sydney Morning Herald.[5]

Queanbeyan was formally proclaimed as a settlement on 28 September 1838, with The Queanbeyan Age newspaper was first published on 15 September 1860, the earliest report of bush fires in the Limestone Plains region was in January 1862 in the Queanbeyan Age and General Advertiser[6] -

"Bush Fires.- Large bush fires have raged around Queanbeyan for several days past, nightly lighting the heavens by their glare, and by day giving indications of their presence in ascending volumes of smoke. On Tuesday night miles of bush in the direction of Gundaroo, were enveloped in fierce flames, which were plainly visible from the town, and seem to be advancing over the ranges in this direction. We have heard several accounts of bush fires lately; but none having done any injury to property, although we shall not be surprised if tidings of disaster reach us, originating in these extensive fires."

Disastrous bush fires occurred throughout New South Wales from December 1874 to February 1875. The Queanbeyan Age[7] reported many bush fires in the neighbourhood of Queanbeyan. Again in 1875 bush fires prevailed in all parts of Australia with the Queanbeyan Age[8] reporting extensive bushfires in the district.

Serious bushfires broke out in the Sutton and Queanbeyan areas in March 1888[9] with an update in the Queanbeyan Age [10] giving further details, including the damage done in the Bungendore, area.

In late January 1902 a major bush fire was burning between the Murrumbidgee River and Weetangera.[11]

In early December 1904 bush fires again burned in many parts of the district.[12] The last days of 1904, saw bush fires bringing devastation to many parts of NSW,[13] including the Canberra region.[14] Various Newspapers covered the bush fires in the Queanbeyan area,[15] the Gunning district,[16] Braidwood [17] and in the Yass district.[18]

  • From The Bush Fire Control Organisation:- This fire crossed the Murrumbidgee River about noon Sunday, 1st January at a spot known as Horseshoe Bend, and was stopped the same day behind Gungahlin Homestead. This fire travelled through Kilby's at the falls, the southern edge of the fire entering the Territory somewhere near where Mr. Shepard now resides, and travelled in a easterly direction. Heavy losses of fencing and stock resulted, buildings destroyed including outbuildings and Kilby's homestead, the old store at Ginninderra and odd buildings at Ginninderra Station..[19]

Late in January 1906 a bushfire in the Naas Mountains area threaten a the residences of Messrs. J. Gregory and G. Reid.[20] The article also records a entrapment of bush fire fighters-

"...the wind suddenly changed, carrying the flames so as to completely hem in the party of beaters, who had to effect their escape through the burning timber and grass as best they could."

In December 1909 the Hall [21] and Bungendore [22] districts were swept by bush fires. On December 20 No. 2 Station at Queanbeyan [23] recorded 105.5F degrees maximum, and for last night a minimum reading of 69.8F degrees, the highest records ever taken at the station in the last 30 years.

References[edit]

  1. 1300.1 - New South Wales Year Book, 1998 http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/featurearticlesbytitle/A890E87A9AB97424CA2569DE0025C18B?OpenDocument. Retrieved January 2016
  2. "Agricultural Report for January 1833 Argyle". The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser. 12 February 1833. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/2210738. 
  3. "NEWS FROM THE INTERIOR". The Sydney Morning Herald. 20 December 1842. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/12423199. 
  4. "Domestic Intelligence". The Goulburn Herald and County of Argyle Advertiser. 16 December 1854. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/101734067. 
  5. "Yass". Sydney Morning Herald. 26 January 1858. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/28634166. 
  6. "Bush Fires". Queanbeyan Age and General Advertiser. 16 January 1862. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/30632112. 
  7. "Bush Fires". The Queanbeyan Age. 13 February 1874. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/30595354. 
  8. "Bush Fires". The Queanbeyan Age. 27 January 1875. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/30597467. 
  9. "DESTRUCTVE BUSH FIRES". Queanbeyan Age. 17 March 1888. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/30919054. 
  10. "BUNGENDORE NEWS". Queanbeyan Age. 21 March 1888. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/30919118. 
  11. "NOTES FROM GININDERRA.". Goulburn Evening Penny Post. 28 January 1902. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/98716456. 
  12. "QUEANBEYAN.". Goulburn Evening Penny Post. 8 December 1904. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/98767893. 
  13. "The Bush Fires.". Goulburn Evening Penny Post. 5 January 1905. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/98734745. 
  14. "The Gininderra Fires.". The Age. 10 January 1905. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/31098318. 
  15. "QUEANBEYAN DISTRICT.". Goulburn Evening Penny Post. 5 January 1905. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/98734748. 
  16. "GUNNING DISTRICT.". Goulburn Evening Penny Post. 5 January 1905. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/98734747. 
  17. "BRAIDWOOD DISTRICT.". Goulburn Evening Penny Post. 5 January 1905. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/98734749. 
  18. "YASS DISTRICT.". Goulburn Evening Penny Post. 5 January 1905. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/98734752. 
  19. Archives ACT - ACT Bushfire Council Bushfire Control, 1929–50 A880, TL2082 parts 1–11
  20. "FIRE IN THE NAAS MOUNTAINS.". The Queanbeyan Leader. 26 January 1906. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/135700773. 
  21. "GININDERRA.". Queanbeyan Age. 21 December 1909. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/31392575. 
  22. "BUNGENDORE.". Queanbeyan Age. 21 December 1909. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/31392577. 
  23. "UNPRECEDENTED HEAT.". Queanbeyan Age. 21 December 1909. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/31392590.