WE WERE THERE: ‘Fire!’ regularly in The Times
TIMBER was always a major building resource for the Gympie region.
Reliable water supplies were not always so common. Fire, as a consequence, has always been a part of our lives.
And The Gympie Times has always been there to record these sadly significant and spectacular events.
In 1905, residents of the Sovereign Hotel in Brisbane Rd "barely escaped with their lives," "barely" being the right word because, as the paper reported, they did not have time "to snatch up their clothing".
Central State School went the same way in 1917.
1929 saw "the most disastrous fire in Gympie since the water service was installed," costing us the Tivoli Theatre and five shops.
"The most serious grass and bush fires the district has ever experienced" burned out farms and surrounded Gympie in 1936.
Even "the splendid brick and concrete" Cullinanes drapery was reduced to "a cracked facade and two walls" by a "the most disastrous single-building fire ever" in 1937.
It was eclipsed in 1955, when the original timber Gympie High building burned down in less than an hour.
The Melawondi timber mill was hit hard by fire in 2002 and in 2003, the re-opening of Gympie's gold industry came to an end with fire elsewhere, in the New South Wales coal mine which had been financing the re-opening of the Eldorado Mine.