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Wheat stack fire at Wallaroo
Title : Wheat stack fire at Wallaroo Wheat stack fire at Wallaroo
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Source : Wheat stacks on fire at Wallaroo, South Australia
Date of creation : 1918
Format : Photograph
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
Catalogue record
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Description :

Men working to put out a fire damaging large wheat stacks at Wallaroo, South Australia.

Wallaroo has been a major port in Spencer Gulf from its establishment. As well as the copper and copper ore exported through the harbour, wheat and wool were also major exports. Before the wheat bulk handling facilities were established in 1957, wheat bags were stored in large stacks awaiting shipment.

On Wednesday 9 October 1918 a large stack as well as a newly built mill and wheat-cleaning plant caught fire. As the day was a public holiday celebrating Eight Hour's Day (Labour Day), the site was deserted and the fire had a strong hold before it was noticed. With no local fire appliance, the blaze was fought with water carted in kerosene tins as well as the assistance of the fire appliance from the smelting works. A strong north-west wind fanned the flames and carried the fire to further stacks across the road.

The following Saturday the fire broke out again and this blaze continued until the following Tuesday.

An inquest returned an open verdict although there had been other recent fires with suspicious circumstances. However, as a result of the fire and inquest smoking was banned in the Wallaroo wheatyards.

In 1919 a motor fire reel arrived and the Wallaroo Fire Brigade under the leadership of John Koskee and four men was established. The fire station was finally erected by December of that year.

Coverage year : 1918
Place : Wallaroo
Region : Yorke Peninsula
Further reading :
Hughes, Lloyd Clarence Wallaroo, 1874-1974 Wallaroo: Pub. by the Corporation of the Town of Wallaroo, 1974
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