1926 Central Gippsland Fires (Black Sunday)

During the 1925–26 Victorian bushfire season a series of major bushfires occurred between 26 January and 10 March 1926 in the state of Victoria in Australia. A total of 60 people were killed, 700 injured, and 1000 buildings were destroyed across the south-east of the state.

On Sunday 14 February, later referred to as Black Sunday, bushfires swept across Gippsland, the Yarra Valley, the Dandenong Ranges and the Kinglake area. The fires had originated in forest areas on 26 January, but wind gusts of up to 97 km per hour led to the joining of the fire fronts on 14 February.


The Argus, February 18 1926

Bush fires at the Brown Coalmine Township and Yallourn caused considerable damage yesterday. For a time both townships were in danger, and the brown coalmine is still menaced.
A fire ignited the coal face in the new opencut, and the coal is still burning. Damage to machinery at Yallourn is estimated at nearly £40,000. Several fresh outbreaks of fire occurred in the area between Moe and Walhalla and Fumina and Erica. Walhalla for a time was menaced, but is now believed to be safe….

…Fires which have burnt across the country to the east of Gould, Erica, and Knott’s siding on the railway line from Moe to Walhalla, and south from Walhalla have caused grave concern in the last few days although their progress towards the Brown Coal Mine and Yallourn has been less

rapid since the weekend owing to the absence of wind. To day, however, with strong wind blowing from different quarters, although chiefly from the west and north west the fires made rapid head way towards the Brown Coal Mine town- ship and Yallourn which were in great danger fora time. The fire then extended in an almost unbroken line from Gould to the coal mine a distance of about 12 miles. Some of the country through which the fire passed had been burnt over some days previously, and for this reason its progress as it neared the township was slackened. Other fires occurred in the vicinity, chiefly in the neighborhood of the old road between the mine and Morwell, and several homes of men employed on the mine and by the electricity Commission were damaged.

Argus Feb 18 1926 p11

Where was Gould? Gould was a station on the Moe to Walhalla railway and is now under the Moondarra Reservoir.

Where was Brown Coalmine Township? This is now known as Yallourn North

Other areas of Gippsland

More than 394,300 ha including in Neerim, Erica and the Counties of Tambo and Croajingalong. While many of these were due to lightning, estimates said that graziers caused 37% of fires.

In January fires caused a lot of damage in Wonthaggi and Foster, on 14 February 4 people died at Noojee and 3 at Erica as fire swept through those settlements then three days later the new coal face at the Yallourn power station suffered 35,000pounds of damage due to fires.


  • hello

    hello what was the fire rating on the day.

    • Joanne Eastman

      Hello and apologies for not getting back to you. We are unable to provide information about the fire rating on the day. We don’t have details of temperatures, windspeeds, vegetation dryness, etc. You may be able to find them on Trove. Regards CBC Admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *