Townspeople survey the damage to businesses after the fire swept through Gympie. Some clean-up of corrugated iron roofing has begun. (Information taken from: Gympie Times, 14 May 1929)
Townspeople survey the damage to businesses after the fire swept through Gympie. Some clean-up of corrugated iron roofing has begun. (Information taken from: Gympie Times, 14 May 1929)

HISTORIC PHOTOS: 39 Gympie region fire pics through the ages

THE Gympie region has escaped the worst of the fires that have ravaged the Sunshine Coast and other parts of Queensland and New South Wales over the past week, but it is by no means a stranger to the terrible impact of fire.

Over the decades, fire has rocked this community with great regularity, through the loss of lives, houses, multiple hotels and bushfires, most recently of course the Woolooga fires which occurred almost exactly one year ago.

Aerial footage of the aftermath of the Woolooga fire.
Aerial footage of the aftermath of the Woolooga fire. Philippe Coquerand

Most tragic and recent was the death of 12-year-old Alexis Dean following a house fire on Noosa Road in 2016.

Alexis Dean.
Alexis Dean. Contributed

Historically, fires have been destroying lives since the very earliest days of the Gympie minefield.

In 1877, when the town was 10 years old, a gunpowder explosion rocked the lower end of Mary St towards the Fiveways, setting buildings on fire.

1877 fire lower Mary Street results of an explosion of gunpowder
1877 fire lower Mary Street results of an explosion of gunpowder

Four years later, this time in upper Mary St, the "big fire” of 1881 destroyed every building from the Bank of New South Wales to the A.C.B. premises.

1881 fire in Upper Mary Street
1881 fire in Upper Mary Street

In May 1929, fire swept through the main street of Gympie, in 1937 it destroyed the Imbil State School, in December 1939, several lives were lost when fire destroyed a building in Goomeri, and in 1969 Gympie awoke in the middle of the night to see the Northumberland on fire.

Carolyn, John and Doug Greensill early hours of Saturday morning Kandanga pub burnt down. Renee Albrecht /Gympietimes
Carolyn, John and Doug Greensill early hours of Saturday morning Kandanga pub burnt down. Renee Albrecht /Gympietimes MPS75

In 1989 the Tattersalls Hotel in Mary St burnt to the ground, in 2015 the Kandanga Pub burnt to the ground, and in 2017 fire claimed a building at the One Mile School (which this weekend celebrates its 150th birthday).

Fire Goomeri 1939
Fire Goomeri 1939

There have been, of course, far more fires over the years, and this gallery we have put together captures just some of the devastation.

After the 1969 Northumberland fire. Photo courtesy Gympie Libraries
After the 1969 Northumberland fire. Photo courtesy Gympie Libraries

Boonara Hotel and the remains of the Grand Hotel Goomeri which was destroyed by fire in 1939
Boonara Hotel and the remains of the Grand Hotel Goomeri which was destroyed by fire in 1939
Gympie Times


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