BUSHFIRES RAGE OVER S.E. Q’LAND 17Aug. 1953. Motorists panicked and women and children screamed as bushfires threatened to envelop them on the Pacific Highway on the Brisbane side of Southport.
BUSHFIRES RAGE OVER S.E. Q’LAND (1953, August 17). Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1878 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved July 4, 2022, from https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/57265187?searchTerm=bushfires%20rage%20over%20s.e%2C%20q%27land&searchLimits=#
BRISBANE, August 16.-
Whipped by gale force winds the strongest tor the year bushfires raged over many parts of South-east Queensland today.
In Brisbane firemen were called to 13 separate bushfires in suburbs and were still fighting them late into the night. Several houses were damaged and many more threatened. The Metropolitan fire chief (Mr George Healy) said tonight: “The men do not look like getting much sleep for the next couple of nights.”
Savage gusts of westerly winds swept the city throughout the day, reaching a peak of 51 miles per hour at 4.55 pm.
Firemen battled throughout the afternoon and night to stop a blaze at Brisbane suburb of Alderley. A fire broke out shortly after 1 p.m. and dozens of civilians and firemen were in the fight. The fire reached to within a few feet of one house and the fence was burnt down. A wood and iron building used as boiling down works a few yards from the house was completely destroyed.
A bushfire near Greenbah temporarily disrupted rail communications between there and Brisbane. A burning tree fell across the telegraph wire and as a result the second division of Sydney-Brisbane express was delayed fer 21 minutes.
Along the coast heavy seas whipped up by wind pounded the beaches but no serious damage has been reported.
Surfing resorts were practically deserted.
At Nambour, about 75 miles north of Brisbane, three fires were burning during the day.
Late tonight police and volunteers had joined local farmers in a fire which was sweeping towards the Kureelpa district. The fire swept through banana plantations at Mapleton five miles from Nambour, and in response to a call for aid, 30 volunteers and police were rushed to the fire from Nambour.
At Tweed Heads, a scrub fire menaced a row of homes in Dock Road, but was halted by police and volunteers.
Fires in scrub country on either side of the Pacific High way blanketed the main road in smoke during the afternoon. Motorists crossing the Storey Bridge, Brisbane, reported that their cars were blown several feet sideways as blasts of wind struck them.
At Canungra, 50 miles south of Brisbane, wind ripped the roof from a stationary railway truck and hurled it through electric power lines.
At Beaudesert, 47 miles south of Brisbane, the Beaudesert Fire Brigade saved property worth thousands of pounds when a fire was discovered in grass close to a sawmill soon after noon.
A £500 shed was destroyed but the brigade says the sawmill, owned by Laheys Beaudesert Pty Ltd., and a row of nearby houses.
While the brigade was fighting this fire police received a miles south-west of Beaudesert.
Police and volunteers raced to the fire with two tanks of water on a truck and saved the homestead and cottages.
Motorists panicked and women and children screamed as bushfires threatened to envelop them on the Pacific Highway on the Brisbane side of Southport.
In panic cars became jammed and vehicles could not move for about 20 minutes. Cars were lined bumper to bumper for more than three miles. Fires swept four miles along both sides of the highway blocking traffic with a wall of flames. All available Southport regular auxiliary firemen fought the fire from 4.30 pm. to late into the night. Cars on the highway travelled at a snail’s pace through dense smoke. The only damage in the fire was the destruction of a shed containing machinery worth £800.
A fire started on the Gracemere Road at 3 p.m. yesterday and was still burning early this morning. The fire raged along the Mt Morgan Road. At midnight it was estimated that between 10,000 and 12,000 acres of grass bad been burnt.
A grazier (Mr. J. McEvoy) said that there were 1000 head of cattle on the area, but he had no knowledge of any losses. He said it was impossible to make an inspection. This would be undertaken today. However, he expected that there would be a great deal of damage.
Long lines of cars were drawn up near the Bull’s Head quarry. Hundreds of sightseers watched the blaze.
Rockhampton was lashed by boisterous winds yesterday and last night bushfires in the district were fanned by westerly winds.