Bush fires and dust storms, during the past week have thrown a pall of dense smoke and gritty haze almost, entirely, over the whole of Australia.
To-day the sun was behind a curtain that extends all over South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, and the southern half of Queensland and miles out to sea.
Nothing could be more Indicative of the appalling state of the continent which is plunged in one of the most devastating droughts on record.
In Queensland, heavy rains are continuing along the coast north from Cardwell with light showers southward as far as Mackay, but elsewhere in the State, the heat wave continues with the thermometer in many centres well over the century mark.
Two elderly women died from the effects of heat at Thargomindah where the temperature has exceeded the century for the last four weeks.
EIGHT MORE DEATHS SYDNEY, Friday Night
Eight more deaths, attributed to the heat, were reported to-day from country towns.
Before 10 a.m. to-day, Bourke, with 105 degrees, recorded its 28th consecutive century, and Ivanhoe, with 112 degrees at 10.30 a.m., pressed its unofficial claim to a State record of thirty in a row. Many people are being treated in country hospitals for heat.
With a reading of 114.1 degrees at 12.50 p.m. to-day’s temperature passed the all-time record of 112.5 established on Tuesday. Country temperatures at 9 a.m. were nearly all in the vicinity of 100 degrees.
There were a few well over the century mark.
Canberra experienced another trying day to-day, the thermometer reaching 107.5 degrees. The first victim of the heat was Mr. F. N. Radcliffe. author of “Flying Fox and Drifting Sand,” who collapsed when delivering a lecture on soil erosion at the Science Congress. His condition is not serious.
Adelaide entered upon the eighth day of its record heat wave to-day. At 2.30 p.m. the thermometer showed 114 degrees with no immediate hope of relief. The heat has caused the death of many elderly people during the week.
Holdens, motor body builders, and a number of other large establishments, are closing down until the heat abates. Workmen have been overcome by heat which, in many shops, has reached well over the 120 degrees mark.