New South Wales, January 1939

Sydney and southern New South Wales bushfires, 1939

Quick Statistics

6 Fatalities
£300,000 Insurance Costs
50 Homes Destroyed

The summer of January 1939 was a period of extreme weather conditions across Australia. Scorching temperatures created ideal conditions for bushfires, like the notorious ‘Black Friday’ bushfires that devastated Victoria. 

During this period, New South Wales was also severely impacted by fire. Temperatures climbed to 45.3 degrees Celsius in Sydney; subsequent fires broke out across the state, impacting Port Hacking, Palm Beach, Nowra, Mittagong, Goulburn, Braidwood, Bega, Parramatta, Lidcombe, Bathurst, Windsor, Castle Hill, Pennant Hills, Petersham, Earlwood, Croydon, Katoomba and other areas around the Blue Mountains.

The bushfires had a significant impact on infrastructure, including roads and railway lines. There were also significant livestock losses and damage and destruction of farms. Fifty houses were completely destroyed by fire.

Six people died as a direct result of the fires. 

The estimated 1939 damage was £300,000.


P Collins 2006, Burn: The Epic Story of Bushfire in Australia, pp.44-50.