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THE LATE BUSH FIRE

We deeply regret to have to chronicle today a disaster which has overtaken several of our settlers, and those of the most enterprising and energetic amongst ns. Oar readers will, of course, be aware that we alludo to the bush fires which have during the week laid waste a large quantity of our crops, destroyed several homesteads, and deprived us of much of the results of the yearns labour. It is not easy as yet to gain any authentic information of what damage has really been done, or of the extent of the fire, but, as far as we can learn, the following account is correct. It is well known that for several years past, in consequence of the wai', and from other causes, many of those who own lands in the country have been living in tbe town, and have not duly burned off every season the old logs remaining on their country lands. The consequence is that there areVor were, over a largo extent of country six years arrears of logs, all of which must have been burned at some time, and which might any day have taken fire and caused the calamity which ha 3 now befallen us. On Monday last there sprang up a stiff S.E. wind, which continued until Thursday, blowing a regular gaje on Tuesday and Wednesday.

It appears that thero were several bush fires burning at the former date, some lately ignited, some supposed to be extinguished. These the wind took, and fanned until they grew to a terrific sizo. Not only did the dry logs take fire, but tho standing bush was all ablaze, and thus tho flames were carried from clearing to clearing until, as we are told npon g-ood authority, the fire extended from a point inlaud of the Bell Block to the centre of the Omata district.

Dwelling-houses belonging to the following soitlers have, we understand, been destroyed : — Messrs. Hawke, Oliver, Batten, Waite, Burton (two houses), Hartley, and Wheeler. In addition to this, Messrs. Hawke, C. Brown, and Long have lost ricks of hay ; Mr. H. Brown has had his fences, hay, bridges, and a largo quantity of timber prepared for sawing, destroyed. Wo further learn that Mr. Free has lost a horse, which was burned to death. There is little for us to say upon the subject beyond the above bare statement of facts. Taranaki people are by this time too well used to disappointment and misfortune to need any exhortation to perseverance. Each settler knows well that he has the sympathy of his fellow-settlers, whether they express it or not ; each haa made up his mind to look fortune Bteadily in the face, to hope on, and hope ever ; and wo feel confident that each of those who have suffered, or been well nigh ruined in the late fire, will only " set his teeth, and at it again " manfully, with the same vigour as if all his past labours had prospered and been crowned with success.

POST OFFICE SAVINGS' BANKS. We have been requested by the Chief Postmaster to draw the attention of the public to the approaching initiation of the above very useful institution in this Province. The experiment has been already tried, we understand, in the Chief Post Offices at Aucklaud, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin, and has, we believe, worked so satisfactorily that it is intended, as soon as possible, to extend it to all money order offices throughout the colony. The date of commencement has not been absolutely fixed, as it must depend upon the ability of the printing establishment at Wellington to supply the necessary pass books and forms ; but it is hoped that -operations may be generally commenced by the first of the ensuing month. We publish in another column, for the information of our readers, an article from the Canterbury Press upon this subject.

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THE LATE BUSH FIRE Taranaki Herald, Volume XV, Issue 763, 16 March 1867

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