Dwellingup Fire: 55 Years On

Only the chimneys of Dwellingup Hospital were left standing.
Only the chimneys of Dwellingup Hospital were left standing.

FIFTY five years ago this month, Dwellingup and most of the old sawmilling towns in the Hills nearby, including Nanga Brook and Holyoake, went up in flames.

The temperature was 100F (37C) when the fires started but they were not reported until the following day.

Tuesday was even hotter at 104F (40C) and by the afternoon the air had become difficult to breathe.

Buildings began to catch alight about 8pm, the hospital was soon well alight, followed by the Catholic Church.

Next came the butcher’s shop and the CWA Hall and a little later the service station went up.

The devastating fire raced from Dwellingup to Nanga Brook in less than 15 minutes.

Dwellingup was rebuilt within a couple of years and many of the older residents chose not to return.

Holyoake and Nanga Brook were left for the forest to reclaim, which it quickly did.