The Fire Fiend

Article | Updated 6 years ago

Courtesy State Library of Western Australia 4406B/2
Hannans from Mt Charlotte, 1894

A source of great danger to life and property in this town. Most of the buildings are constructed more or less of hessian and the least carelessness might involve the town in destruction from fire.

The Hannan’s Herald, 4 November 1895

 The Great Fire of Coolgardie, 10 October 1895, gutted a large part of the town. Around thirty shops were destroyed and the fire highlighted the lack of a well trained fire brigade with a pump and a mobile source of water.

Hessian as a building material was banned in Kalgoorlie but fires in the hessian and canvas structures on the goldfields were a regular occurrence, resulting in loss of lives and property.

Kalgoorlie’s first major fire occurred on 23 October 1896.