Grenfell Family History



Destructive Fire at Long Gully

Extracted from the Bendigo Advertiser 3rd November 1884.

A fire which caused the destruction of two shops and a dwelling house occurred in Long Gully last evening at about twenty minutes past seven o'clock on the premises occupied by Mr William Grenfell carrying on business as a book seller and agent for tricycles.

The property is held in trust by Mrs Arthur and Mrs Daniels for the children of the late Mr Peter Pentreach. About eight minutes before the time named Constable Hayes passed the buildings which are situated on the western side of the main street, and opposite the Mechanics' Institute, and then there was not the slightest semblance of fire. The constable had walked around to the Wesleyan Church, when he heard the cry 'fire' raised by some boys and about ten minutes afterwards the Long Gully firebell rang. The fire had by that time gained a complete mastery over the building, and was spreading to an unoccupied shop on the southern side when the brigade arrived. The building, a very old one, was constructed of weatherboard, and the flames had enveloped the shop and reached the dwelling house of Mr Edwin James, a miner, before the water was on. The efforts of the firemen were confined to saving the residence on the northern side occupied by Mr George Klemm, from which all the furniture was removed, and in this they were by strenuous endeavours successful.

The shop occupied by Mr Grenfell, that adjoining, and the dwelling house, all of which were under one roof were, however, totally destroyed, although fortunately there was sufficient time to remove most of the effects in the house tenanted by James, who was uninsured. The origin of the fire is unaccounted for, Mr Grenfell, whose wife and family were on a visit to a friend at (?), had only left the premises four minutes before the fire was discovered, and he says that he cannot in any way account for it. His stock and furniture were insured in the Derwent & (?) Insurance Company for 150 which will not, it is stated, cover the loss, as there were 35 in notes destroyed. The buildings were unfortunately uninsured, the policy which was not renewed, having expired on the 28th of last February.

Mr Klemm had his furniture much damaged by removal, and estimates his loss at 15 and Mr James is a loser by about the same amount. The manner in which the Long Gully brigade worked was generally commended. The city brigade arrived too late to render much assistance, having, it is stated, been misled by the signs(?) given by the watchman in the fire tower. The buildings were erected about 26 years ago.