Ash Wednesday MemorialPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Robert Morris
The seats serve as a lasting reminder of the fire devastation caused to trees and forest plantations in the Ash Wednesday bushfire in February 1983. 

On February 16, 1983, fires fanned by winds up to 110 kilometres per hors caused widespread destruction across South Australia and Victoria. There were 28 deaths in South Australia -  14 in the Hills and another 14 in the south-east and 47 in Victoria.  Three CFS volunteers, Andrew Lemke from Lucindale, Peter Matthies from Summertown and Brian Nosworthy from Callendale lost their lives, along with 13 CFA (Country Fire Authority) volunteer fire-fighters. The fires were the deadliest bushfires in Australian history until the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009.

The first fire was reported at 11:30 am at McLaren Flat, south of Adelaide. Within hours, multiple reports of breaking fires quickly began.  The total land area burnt was approximately 208,000 hectares in South Australia and 210,000 hectares in Victoria.  More than 300 homes were lost along with a hotel, a service station and 13 historic buildings.


Address:Princes Highway, Umpherston Sinkhole, Mount Gambier, 5290
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.838444
Long: 140.809083
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Seat
Monument Theme:Disaster
Actual Event Start Date:16-February-1983
Actual Event End Date:16-February-1983


Front Inscription

1983 Ash Wednesday Fire

These seats were cut from logs recovered from trees killed by the fires of 14. 2. 83 and stored under water in Lake Bonney  until 1987.

After removal from water storage logs were sawn, dried, and preservative treated to act as a lasting reminder of the  fire devastation and subsequent salvage operation in our forest plantations.

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au