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02 January - Bush fires destroys Marble Hill

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02 January - Bush fires destroys Marble Hill

Unread postby Max ADU » Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:40 pm

Australian History
Sunday, January 2, 1955.

South Australia's Vice-Regal Summer Residence, Marble Hill, is destroyed by bushfires.

Marble Hill was the grand
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summer residence of the Governor of South Australia. Situated in the bushland of the Adelaide Hills, it was an ideal location to catch any summer breezes, whilst it also held commanding views of the surrounding countryside.

Nothing but the best for the Governor
The 1870s was a time of economic boom for South Australia. When William Jervois became Governor in 1877, he commissioned the construction of a grander residence than the country retreat of Government Farm at Belair. Jervois supervised the architecture and selected the site.

The first stone for the Marble Hill residence was laid on 18 July 1878, and the building was completed by late 1879.

The Vice-Regal Summer Residence,
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as it was known, was designed in Victorian Gothic Revival style and adapted for Australian conditions with the addition of spacious verandahs on three sides which shielded the interior from the intense northern sun.

Constructed from locally quarried sandstone, its 26 rooms included a drawing room, a morning room, a dining room and a grand staircase of kauri pine and blackwood.

Area notorious for bushfires
The Adelaide Hills are notorious for their bushfires, with several threatening Marble Hill through the years. The first of these was in 1882, whilst successive bushfires in 1901, 1910, 1912, 1930 and 1939 all came frighteningly close.

However, it was the 1955
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bushfires which completely destroyed the Vice-Regal Summer Residence.

The summer of 1954-55 had been marked by extreme temperatures. By midday of 2 January 1955, on what came to be known as Black Sunday, temperatures had reached 42 degrees by midday, and a fire which had broken out at nearby Anstey's Hill was being fanned by 70 kph winds.

After trying to fight the fire, Sir Robert and Lady George, their family, staff and servants were forced to shelter under wet blankets in the lee of a retaining wall while the fire completely destroyed the building.

Too expensive to restore
The cost of rebuilding was considered too prohibitive for the time, and the ruins were eventually dedicated to the National Trust of South Australia as a public reserve, in 1967.

In recent years, the property has been taken over by private interests, with restoration work currently being undertaken.

To date, the main building has never been fully restored,
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Re: 02 January - Bush fires destroys Marble Hill

Unread postby Max ADU » Sat Jan 02, 2016 6:26 pm

bumped
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Max ADU
Site Admin
 
Status:
Posts: 728
Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2012 4:13 pm
Location: Burpengary QLD
First Name: Max
Location - City or Town: Burpengary
State: QLD
Country: Australia


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