As depicted by English-born artist William Strutt in 1864.
One of the worst bushfire disasters in recorded Australian history, the Black Thursday fires took place on the 6th of February, 1851, in the colony of Victoria.
Severe drought in 1850 helped to create the conditions ideal for bushfires. An estimated maximum temperature of 47 °C and strong winds on the day of the disaster magnified the situation.
It is believed the fire started when two bullock drivers left burning logs unattended.
The disaster claimed the lives of twelve people and many animals, and caused significant damage to the countryside.
The harbour town in Libya became the focus of a 241-day siege a few months later. 14 000 Australians – known as the Rats of Tobruk – fought a combined force of Nazis and Italians. Control of the town was crucial to Allied interests in North Africa.
I’ve mentioned this disaster before, but today is the fifteenth anniversary of the freakish firestorm that tore through Canberra, Australia’s capital city. Unlike other bushfires, this one burnt into the city itself, claiming lives and destroying many hundreds of buildings.
Watch from 1:08 in to see what the suburban streets looked like that afternoon.
The images below (from Wikimedia Commons) are from before the sky turned blacker than night, and then bright red. All the photos are of places I was on that day. When everything went black, it started raining embers, and the flames started rolling down the mountains that surround us, things got really scary in this part of town. (What looks like lights in the first picture is all fire.)
People I know lost everything, but we got lucky and the firebombing helicopters were just over us and stopped it before it jumped the road to our side.
10th January 1915: Members of the Australian 11th (Western Australia) Battalion, 3rd Infantry Brigade, Australian Imperial Force pose for a group photograph on the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. The Australians did a lot of their training in the country.
In April of the same year they would take part in the infamous landings at Gallipoli in the Ottoman Empire (modern-day Turkey). 378 men in this battalion were amongst the 26 111 Australian casualties, which included 8141 deaths.
Pritchard was the Australian Army’s only Japanese translator during the Second World War.
The AWAS saw tens of thousands of women serve in the army for the final four years of the war. The organisation was disbanded in 1947.
Here in Australia (and I don’t care if it’s dorky – I still love it!) it is now officially Christmas. David Hobson has finished the carols with The Holy City, and until he does it, it’s not really Christmas here.
There’s not a 2017 video yet, but here he is last year: