Wednesday 30 November 1836

[, on board the wrote. | Read source notes.]

Novr 30th I have now seen what I have so heard & read of – a country on fire! Perhaps some imaginations might realise it from the American novels; mine never could. The fire was lighted by order of Mr Kingston that he might with greater readiness survey to the N. & E. The wind blowing strongly the fire rapidly spread in the direction of the wind, being chiefly supported by dry grass of a most luxurious growth, but occasionally lighting upon an old gum-tree; a fallen branch of which acted as conductor to its parent stock. When this happened the fire, which at other times remained of a height nearly equable, burst up in a thick volume, & looked like a blazing town, until its branches fell away with a loud crack. The next day the fire was lighted to the S. and came up to us. I had however had a trench dug about 20 yds around me, which in case of fire, would I hoped effectively stop its march. This precautions have kept me & my enclosure safe, while all beyond is black & desert. One decided advantage has been gained by this conflagration – viz. the destruction of myriads of insects, etc.

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