Photo and information supplied by Dennis R. Page, via Alison McLeod
||-37.601994, 140.482369 (GDA 94)
Current: ?m -
|Public access to site
||In use since
|| Original: 1928 - 19??
Current: 1961? -
Please click on thumbnails for enlargements
||This 1928 photo is Copyright ForestrySA and provided by the City of Mount Gambier Library in March 2022 and used with permission.
For the City of Mount Gambier Library's website page with the collection of fire tower photos, please click here. On this page, you can click on the individual photo for detailed description.
Below is an extract from the Fire Tower chapter of a book, Forestry Tales, that was written by Michael H. Bleby OAM. It is used with permission, thanks Michael.
Records show that fire spotting has been happening at Mt Burr since at least 1928. The current structure is the same vintage and design as Mt Edward, and has a commanding view being the highest point on the Mt Burr Range. It shared the site with the adjacent TV tower and buildings. This tall TV mast made the newspapers when it fell down in 1965 after initial construction, when undergoing guy wire testing. During my time as District Forester the steel cabin on the Mt Burr tower was replaced by a new fiberglass one which had to be hoisted up by a large crane. The same cabin renewal took place at Mt Edward.
Before the use of radios for communication, the Mt Burr tower had a dedicated phone cable which ran from the Office to the summit. The old above ground wires had been replaced some years before with a more reliable underground line. It still developed its faults however, and I recall being able to get instant service from the Telecom technicians when I told them it was for a fire tower phone. This seemed to get same day special priority to fix the line compared to other phone faults the general public might experience.
The Mt Burr tower was critical, as were they all, on the occasions when a dry thunderstorm went through with multiple lightning strikes to the ground. Sometimes the tower man would see a puff of smoke from such an event rise up and then disappear. He would report the bearing, but having disappeared, there was no chance of getting a cross sighting from another tower, or being sure about the distance from the tower. Even though the smoke may have died down or the fire been slowed by a shower of rain at the time, there was always a strong chance that there was a dormant hot spot out there that needed to be found and dealt with – lest it get going again in the days ahead when the fire danger might be high. Finding such fires was always a challenge. Several of us would go out to try and follow a line through the forest along the known bearing. This was a tricky thing to do with roads and fire breaks not necessarily being oriented in any useful way. It usually meant some slow driving, and some walking, but we did have some significant finds and were able to direct a fire truck and crew in to mop up the hot spot. Other brief smoke sightings had to go unfound with the hope that any rain had done its job. Otherwise it was just fingers crossed that it would not have enough heat to pop up again.
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