ON AUGUST 15th, 1936, a devastating fire ripped through the Bundaberg Distillery in Queensland, Australia.
The inferno destroyed the distillery and left many of its employees out of work. This tragedy set back production by nearly a year and caused an economic downturn in the area.
Let’s take a look at how this fire started and what happened afterwards.
The cause of the fire is still unknown today, but it was believed to have started sometime around midnight on August 14th.
The flames quickly spread throughout all four floors of the building, consuming everything in their path as they went.
Firefighters arrived soon after, but were unable to contain the blaze due to strong winds fanning the flames.
After hours of fighting, they finally managed to put out the last embers shortly before dawn on August 15th.
The cost of damage was estimated to be roughly £200,000—the equivalent of $2 million AUD today—and production had been completely halted for almost a year while repairs were being made.
The employees were all temporarily laid off until then; some never returned as they had decided to seek employment elsewhere.
Fortunately, no lives were lost in this tragedy as everyone had been able to evacuate safely before it got too dangerous.
The rebuilding process began immediately after the fire was extinguished and it took almost an entire year before operations could resume again.
Once construction was completed, all that remained from before was a single brick wall that served as a reminder of how destructive fires could be if not controlled properly.
To this day, this wall still stands as a reminder for all who enter the Bundaberg Distillery grounds about what happened that night in 1936.
It’s hard to imagine that something so devastating could happen so quickly—but it did!
The fire at Bundaberg Distillery is still remembered by many locals who lived through it and its impact can still be felt even today when you visit the site itself.
Its reconstruction has turned it into one of Australia’s most beloved rum distilleries with award-winning products enjoyed by people all over the world!
So next time you’re enjoying your favourite glass of Bundaberg Rum, remember its remarkable history and raise your glass high! Cheers!
Until next time… Happy Distilling!