Fifteen Years

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.

2003_Canberra_Firestorm-Woden 2003 Canberra Firestorm. 18th January 2003 Canberra_hills-18-01-2003

2003_Canberra_Firestorm-Woden Photo of Woden Town Centre during the height of the 2003 Canberra Firestorm. 18th January 2003

2003_Canberra_Firestorm- 2003 Canberra Firestorm. 18th January 2003 Canberra_hills-18-01-2003 2003CanberraBushfires.

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On this day: a funeral in Queensland

Funeral service at Atherton War Cemetery, 12 December 1944 Queensland Australia Black and White Vintage Second World War Two

12th December 1944: A funeral taking place at Atherton War Cemetery in the northern Australian state of Queensland.

Built in 1942, halfway through the Second World War, the cemetery contains 164 graves.

From the collection of the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

On this day: a Christmas parade during the war

Owen_Guns_Christmas_ParadeChristmas parade 1942 A display of Owen guns, invented and manufactured in Australia, procession Sydney to recognise the contribution war workers making to the

From the collection of the Australian War Memorial, Canberra. X

12th December 1942: Australian designed and manufactured Owen guns make up part of the display in the Christmas parade in the streets of Sydney.

The submachine gun was used by the Australian Army from 1943 until the 1960s.

AWASwithOwengunsAWAS with Owen guns. Members of the Australian Women’s Army Service being instructed in the use of the Owen gun at Belmont in Queensland.

Above is an image of women of the Australian Women’s Army Service training with the guns in Queensland.

New South Wales 80 Years Ago

Australian_Iron_and_Steel,_Port_Kembla-_26th_November_1937_(18894130203)Aerial view of Australian Iron and Steel factory in Port Kembla

Source

This aerial photograph, dated the 26th of November, 1937, shows the industrial region of Port Kembla, in New South Wales, Australia. The Australian Iron and Steel factory (opened 1928) can be seen.

Today, Port Kembla is part of the coastal city of Wollongong.

Australian “Soldiers”

Boys and girls dressed as soldiers, with slouch hats and toy rifles, at Irvinebank, Queensland, Australia around 1917. First World War.

Source

This image of boys and girls dressed as Australian soldiers was taken in the small far-north Queensland town of Irvinebank around 1917.

Henry Dalziel, a recipient of the Victoria Cross after World War One, was born in the town in 1893.

Australia began preparations for the war even before Britain officially joined the conflict in 1914. So closely tied to Britain, and still part of the Empire, Australia was part of the conflict until its conclusion on the 11th of November, 1918.