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30 years since tragic Oz bushfires

It’s 30 years this weekend since Ash Wednesday, when 75 people lost their lives and more than 3000 homes were destroyed in bushfires across two states across the Tasman.

It remains one of Australia’s worst natural disasters as bushfires swept across Victoria and South Australia.
Wednesday, February the 16th, 1983 became known as Ash Wednesday, a day when 75 people lost their lives and more than 3000 homes were reduced to ashes.
The worst bushfires were fours years ago this month, when 173 people perished and over 400 were injured in what now has become known as Black Saturday.

Eight days before the fatal bushfires back in 1983, Melbourne went dark at 3 o’clock in the afternoon.

On a blistering hot summer day during one the worst droughts in Australia’s history, fierce winds stripped about 50 thousand tonnes of topsoil from Victoria’s Mallee and created a huge dust cloud that made it all the way to the city.

Eight days later firefighters in South Australia and Victoria faced similar conditions.

Temperatures in the 40s, intense winds and parched earth.

More than one hundred fires swept across the two states that day blackening huge areas.

Of the 75 victims, 17 were firefighters and for survivors they often recall the nightmare which has changed their lives forever.

Homepage image of Melbourne engulfed by a wall of dust and smoke, Feb 1983


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