As the devastating bushfires head towards Bilpin (as I type), burning thousands of hectares, it brought to mind some of the horrific bushfires that have taken place in the Hawkesbury's past, so I turned to Trove to find more information from the digitised newspapers.
|Looking towards the Kurrajong Hills today from Wilberforce © M. Nichols 2013|
In early December 1944, bushfires wreaked havoc over the Hawkesbury district. Two lives were lost as a result. The Windsor & Richmond Gazette reported on the 13 Dec 1944 the "nightmare picture of roaring flames, choking smoke and blistering heat, succeeded by a calm night of macabre beauty from millions of twinkling lights of burning trees and posts, and a new day of black desolation and silence broken only by shots as burned and blinded animals were put out of their misery.
Another destructive fire occurred in the Kurrajong district, around Comleroy Road. The newspaper reported on the 17 Dec 1926, that it was on of the "worst bush fires experienced" for over 50 years. "Thousands of acres of grass and standing crops, together with several buildings" were destroyed, with over 300 fire-fighters fighting the fires.
There was a close call when a fire in the Londonderry area head towards South Windsor in December 1951. On the same day there were also fires in Springwood and the lower mountains. The temperatures were extremely high and the wind blew from many directions. The Windsor & Richmond Gazette 12 Dec 1951 recorded that only a change of wind saved South Windsor.