Unprecedented – fire in Mittagong 1939

Lake Alexandra, Mittagong 6 January 2020

Pictures and graphs depicting high temperatures, droughts and bush fires that occurred in Australia over the past 200 years are being shared on social media currently, with no commentary – these speak volumes. Little puns, implying we regularly have these events, and our fire storms and high temperatures ARE NORMAL.

One of these specifically of the 1939 fire in Mittagong, my local area, and the associated write up (I’m assuming is factual, as I have not researched this).

I make some points on the article (see below). 

When sharing these photos, you are saying, there is no problem with our environment at the moment. I see nothing out of the ordinary. “This is normal”.

Let me please ask you, what do you think about our current mass extinction of species, the state of our rivers, creeks and lakes and about the deforestation of our land? The increasing regularity of bush fire threats. What do you think about and the rising oceans?

Be honest with your answers to yourself. Let’s for one moment forget our political persuasion, and who and what you believe to be the blame for the current state of affairs and think about the state of our country. 

Here is a graph for you to ponder, can you glean the regularity of the high temperatures compared to 1939?

Source: Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), 2019

(Today, someone shared: “BOM issues severe thunderstorm warning”. I note you take head of the weather notifications yet ignore the research of weather patterns of the BOM, since its establishment why is this? Is it because you would rather keep a closed mind?

With some critical research, ask what the graphs and pics that are being shared on social media are not saying about today’s climate?

What we may or may not believe, is irrelevant. Take a look at what the following are saying:

The United Nations, The Climate Council of Australia, Australian Conservation Foundation, Greenpeace, the World Meteorological Organisation, David Attenborough, Dick Smith, leading scientists, fire chiefs, Bush Heritage Australia, Australian Marine Conservation, Geographic Society of Australia, The Wilderness Society, Greta Thunberg and her millions of young followers who have to live on this planet long after we are gone, the selfish species that we are.

The Climate Council has released a new briefing paper called “This Is Not Normal” which finds the catastrophic fire conditions affecting us have been aggravated by climate change. 

“For more than 20 years scientists have warned that climate change would increase the risk of extreme bushfires in Australia. Do you think these fires (raging since July 2019, now it’s January 2020 with the fires still ranging are extreme? The warnings have now become reality and we are seeing communities paying the price,” said the Climate Council’s CEO, Amanda McKenzie. 

The briefing paper finds that Australia’s fire season has lengthened so substantially that it has reduced opportunities for fuel reduction burning making it harder to prepare for worsening conditions. 

“Bushfire seasons are now stretching from spring to autumn, and in some areas even into winter.”

“The window to conduct fuel reduction burns is now very narrow.”  

“Fires are becoming more difficult and expensive to fight and sharing resources is becoming more difficult between states and territories and countries,” said Ms McKenzie. 

“We need the Federal Government to urgently develop a plan that prepares Australian communities as well as health and emergency services for escalating fire danger.  We must also rapidly phase out the burning of coal, oil and gas which is driving more dangerous fires,” she said.

The Climate Council has previously published 11 peer-reviewed reports on bushfires and climate change written by world leading authorities. And she said this well before the current catastrophic bushfire crises. 

No one is listening, yes you are listening, listening to the fake news of Andrew Bolt and his scant supporters in the Murdoch Media. 

Please do your research and join the revolt against corporate lies, contributing to the destruction of our beautiful county. 

Please stop aiding and abetting them, by blindly sharing these pics that really say nothing at all.


  1. The GREENS party was formed in 1992. (It’s core values: ecological sustainability, social justice, grassroots democracy and peace and non-violence).
  2. With very little equipment, the firefighters could not stop the fires and could only try to save buildings and people.
  3. Article states, fire started in Paddy’s River.
  4. Temperatures at the time of 37.7-41.6 Celsius
  5. The bushland setting caused Mittagong to fare worst of all

The points above raise concerns about today’s debate. 

  1. The Greens were not around to stope hazard reduction in 1939, what is the excuse here.
  2. No lessons from past, no funding for equipment and people to fight fires.
  3. This 1939 fire started in Paddy’s River, which I glean from the article, perhaps further afield, however no mention of the entire Australia alight. Our entire country is alight, threatening our entire eco-system.
  4. Our temperatures significantly higher, 41-43 Celsius, as compared to the article.
  5. Our bushland setting is far less, we have expanded our agricultural and housing significantly since 1939 and we are still at threat.
  6. No mention of a “holocaust of destruction’ for wildlife, leading to local extinction events.

Here are excerpts of the January 1939 article:

It was a very hot and dry period and the fear of bushfires was in the minds of most people because of tinder-dry conditions and searing heat, which had kept day temperatures between 37.7-41.6 Celsius for the previous 10 days. January 14 was a day of terror and desolation that was to leave many people homeless, animals and stock dead or dying from the most devastating bushfire the district had known.

Starting from Paddy’s River in the morning, the fire quickly spread on a wide front, which would threaten the whole district and cause immense damage. Driven by the gale, it travelled at an astonishing pace, making any attempt at fire control impossible. Burning debris was blown up to 800m ahead of the fire-face, starting fresh fires.

With very little equipment, the firefighters could not stop the fires and could only try to save buildings and people.

The bushland setting caused Mittagong to fare worst of all, with 40 houses and buildings destroyed. The fire converged on the town from the Berrima and Mandemar direction. The fire front was so wide that despite the superhuman effort of fire-fighters many householders had to rely on their own efforts to save their homes. A number of Fitzroy (Welby) homes were destroyed as the little village bore the brunt of the first onslaught. The fire front extended across the whole western horizon as it approached Mittagong in the early afternoon and men fought bravely to save buildings. From Mittagong, the fire travelled over Mt Alexandra through to Balaclava, Braemar, Colo Vale, and re-joined with the fire on the southern side of the town, travelling to Lower Mittagong.

Reporting from Mittagong, NSW, January 2020
Drought Mittagong, NSW depicting significant reduction of water in our usually plentiful lake at Mount Alexandra.
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