Shire-wide news extracts from the Moruya Examiner of 25 January 1919, provided by the Moruya & District Historical Society:
FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!!! –
This is the cry that has been ringing in the ears of the people in many parts of this State for weeks past. Braidwood has been swept over by the ruthless foe, and much destruction has been wrought to buildings, fencing and grass. Along the coast fires have sprung up in divers places and several land holders contiguous to Moruya have suffered great loss in the destruction of hundreds of acres of grass and miles of fencing, and a few had their buildings demolished, others being saved by the almost super-human efforts of fire-fighters.
On Tuesday last, however, fanned by a hot westerly wind, the Fire Fiend appeared to have collected the whole of his artillery together in one stunt. Starting from Moggendoura, where he had been temporarily checked on Saturday by a band of fighters headed by Mr. John Coppin, jnr. – after consuming much grass, fencing, and bark, also Mr. T. Turner’s cottage with contents, his cattle only being saved through Mrs. Turner galloping over the range, accompanied by Mr. N. Mison, and chopping the fence down – it crossed the range into Dooga, sending out a right wing, which crossed over the Moruya-Araluen road into Mison’s grass paddock and travelled right up to the house which was saved by a band of firefighters who arrived just in time by Weatherby’s cars, and neighbours near the scene. From here the fires raced across Glenduart, close to the homestead, down to near the river, opposite the Hospital and into Mr. E. Keating’s grass paddock, the house being surrounded in a trice. Fire fighters were quickly on the ground and bravely fought the fiery elements, beating them back with every conceivable implement, some using their coats, others waistcoats, whilst Mrs. J. R. Milne, her daughter, May and their lady visitor Miss Robinson, carried buckets of water to the fighters who all declare that these ladies’ marvellous efforts saved the dwellings from utter destruction, and probably saved those of Messrs. J. Lynch and Bert Taylor, which were in line.
The left wing of the racing demon, after crossing the range from Moggendoura to Dooga, came roaring down the spur on the north of the Dooga Creek, and sweeping across Mr. Milne’s bush paddock through the ti-tree was soon over the Moruya-Bateman’s Bay road and surrounding the residences of the three Flanagan Brother’s. It was here that the brave and dauntless heart of the Australian was in fullest evidence, as well as that of nearly every eligible resident of the town and neighbourhood. Time and again the “Daisy Bank” and that of Mr. Albert Flanagan, as also outbuildings would catch alight, and time and again would be heard the shouts of the leaders and the echoing cheers of the fighters as they tackled and extinguished each fresh outbreak. The success of the fighters was most miraculous and was only accomplished by pluck and daring equal to that of the heroes of Gallipoli. Whilst the danger here was being minimised the fire had careered on and completely surrounded Mr. Albert Williams’ residence situated a short distance from the Broulee road. Two or three attempts were made to get to the Williams but each time the fighters were repulsed until at length four horsemen, Messrs J. Coppin, J. R. Milne, A. W. Constable and Rev Sanders put spurs to their steeds and dashed through the flames, only just in time to save the premises and the lives of the family, Mrs. Williams with a baby in arms having collapsed in a creek close by, and Mr. Williams and his four assistants being completely exhausted. By this time another band of fighters including Rev. Hyde, A. F. Emmott, J. Louttit, C. Stanton and others crossed to the eastern side of Malabar Creek and after some good work succeeded in saving Mrs. Crayton Burn’s house and grass paddock.
Twenty 100 years ago booklets containing articles for the years 1899 to 1918 are available ($6 ea) from the Society’s rooms. Copies of local newspapers from the 1860s to date can be viewed at the Society’s Family History Research Centre (Ph 4474 3224) situated at the rear of the Museum in Campbell St. Moruya (www.mdhs.org.au/publications.html).