On this day: the Black Thursday Bushfires

William Strutt, Black Thursday, February 6th (detail), 1864. Australian Art. Bushfires.

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.

On this day…

In the buildup to the Eureka Stockade in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia, men swear allegiance to the Southern Cross on 1st December, 1854.

The stockade was a gold miners’ rebellion against the authority of the United Kingdom.

Swearing Allegiance to the Southern Cross on 1 December 1854 — watercolour by Charles Doudiet.