February 6th 1851: Black Thursday

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The Victoria bushfires (source: http://home.iprimus.com.au/foo7/fire1851.html)

On this day in 1851, bushfires ravaged the Australian state of Victoria. Due to the scale of the destruction, with fire destroying five million hectares, the day has been labelled ‘Black Thursday’. It is considered one of the worst bushfires in Australian history. Twelve people lost their lives and millions of livestock were killed.1850 had been an exceptionally dry and hot year and this continued into February, with Melbourne reaching 47.2 degrees C. Strong northerly winds whipped up the fires and caused them to spread and wreak havoc. Australia still suffers from bushfires, and they continue to grow more catastrophic. Every year more people lose their homes and some their lives as temperatures rise. Unfortunately this in an ever-present danger and fear of Australian life.

 

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Black Thursday fires (source: http://home.iprimus.com.au/foo7/fire1851.html)

 

“The fire kept enlarging its orbit, rolling about like some huge monster, destroying everything it touched, its track marked by charred timber, embers and ashes, cries and lamentations.”
– eyewitness account printed in the Melbourne Herald February 1883

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