Black Thursday, February 6th. 1851

William Strutt's Black Thursday depicts the terrible bushfire which engulfed Victoria only days before the discovery of gold. Many died and the city was filled with dust, smoke and a rain of cinders, the glow of which could be seen from far out at sea. In his journal, Strutt later wrote: I can never forget the morning of that scorching Thursday, ever after memorable in the annals of the Colony as "Black Thursday" --- the sun looked red all day, almost as blood, and the sky the colour of mahogany. We felt in town that something terrible (with the immense volumes of smoke) must be going on up country and sure enough messenger after messenger came flocking in with tales of distress and horror.


William Strutt, artist Oil on canvas, 1864


Accession number: H28049


From the State Library of Victoria's Pictures collection.


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