The attached photo from The Northern Leader shows the scale of the fire. Thirteen weatherboard units and six businesses in the CBD were destroyed.
While my thoughts are with the twelve people made homeless by the fire and the business owners who have to rebuild, I also thought of the loss of Inverell's history.
The Family History Group itself lost its office in the blaze. I imagine that this included a lot of carefully collected records.
Inverell has been very lucky in the work of its local historians, including Elizabeth Wiedamann's two books. Elizabeth and I did postgraduate studied together at UNE and I have recently been re-reading the first volume (here and here). As Elizabeth records, Inverell has had a history of fires in the main street.
John Caling kindly sent me some photos of the aftermath of the fire, supplied to him by a relative in the Family History Group.
This first photo shows the front of the building after the fire from roughly the same position as the first photo.
At the time of the fire, the Inverell District Family History Group was working on a Pioneer Register and was seeking contributions from the community. The Register was to include include the names of people who lived in Inverell and surrounding areas prior to 1910.
My family will miss out on inclusion since we came a little later. In 1912 my grandfather, David Drummond, came to Inverell to manage Maxwelton, a wheat block created out of the newly subdivided Bannockburn Station. Mum was born while they were living there, so I can claim a personal Inverell connection.
We have some family photos of this period. I must do a post or posts some time on the Inverell connection. Its actually quite important in our family history.
The last photo is another shot of the damage from a different perspective.
I hope that the Family History Group has a copy of the material already collected on the Pioneer Register.
It must be very hard from their viewpoint to face the challenge of re-building.
I have been getting a lot of hits on this post, so that I thought that I should do a progressive update just pointing to key press articles. I will continue the update over the next few days:
- Back at work after fire Inverell Times
- Smoke alarms save lives Inverell Times
- Fundraiser for fire victims Inverell Times
- Text message alerts owner of fire Inverell Times
- All hell broke lose says fire victim Inverell Times
- Torbay lends support after fire Inverell Times
- Alarm alerted Katrina to fire Inverell Times
- Our homes could have been saved from fire Inverell Times
- Climbing out of the ashes Inverell Times