Grays Point Bushfire MemorialPrint Page Print this page

Grays Point Bushfire : 16-February-2013
Grays Point Bushfire : 16-February-2013

Photographs supplied by Peter F Williams

The plaque commemorates bushfire brigade members who were killed whilst fighting the fire which threatened Grays Point.  Tragedy was to strike on 9th January 1983  when a fire burning under record high temperatures (maximum. 43 C) was to trap the crew of Heathcote 81 with the death of three of the crew and serious burns to other crew members. 

Date - January 9, 1983: four bushfire brigades were dispatched to a fire trail on Anana Hill to fight fires heading towards houses and nearby Grays Point Public School. The crew included captain Keith Campbell, his daughter Sharon, Thomas Bielecke, Gregory Moon, Jim Fowler, Paul Fenn, Craig Goodall, Craig Blanche, Robert Sawyer, Phillip Bourke and Rod Crane. The mercury had risen to 38 degrees at Sydney Airport and late in the afternoon the crew were told to withdraw as winds picked up.

The crew were retreating when they noticed a woman they thought was stranded near Angle Road. Keith Campbell sent three of his team to help the woman, not knowing she was a spectator and in no danger. One volunteer escorted the woman to safety and two members returned, but as the crew tried to get out, fire blocked their path. They frantically tried to backburn around the truck to give themselves shelter but the blaze was too fierce. They huddled next to the tanker as the fire roared through. Mr Campbell died metres from the truck trying shield his crew with a hose.

There was so much ash and smoke that survivors had no idea he had been killed, along with Gregory Moon, 20. Thomas Biliecke, 35, of Caringbah, who suffered burns to 70 per cent of his body, died the next day. Six were critically injured and suffered horrific burns. Despite the awful tragedy, volunteer firefighters Jim Fowler, Sharon Campbell and Rod Crane remain active members of the Rural Fire Service. "   Leader online 15 Jan 2013



Address:34 Greenhaven Road, Anana Hill Trail, Grays Point , 2233
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -34.054013
Long: 151.073965
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
View Google Map


Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:Disaster
Actual Event Start Date:09-January-1983
Actual Event End Date:09-January-1983


Front Inscription

In memory of three bushfire fighters who gave their lives

9th January 1983

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