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Trapped by ferocious bushfires

The year 1918 may have seen an end to the Great War, but it was a tragic one for the Peele family.

Buried in Longreach cemetery are the remains of Denis George Peele and his eldest daughter Lucy Adah Peele, only two and a half months apart. Denis died on October 8th at 69 years of age, and Lucy followed him a few days before Christmas on December 21 at only 35.

The graves of Denis George Peele and his daughter Lucy, at Longreach. Photo: Kym Warner

Denis had had a fall and, while he seemed ok, one of his three daughters found him a little while later, unconscious. He was rushed to hospital but never regained consciousness. Lucy was the victim of a bushfire.

Sadly, their deaths came just before Lucy's brother, Dugdale, was due back from Egypt after serving over there with the Light Horse. There were great preparations being made to welcome him home.

Before his arrival, a large bushfire had threatened near the Peele home of Dahra and Lucy had gone looking for some horses on the estate. She, unfortunately, became trapped by the fires and decided to climb a tree. Sadly, it was burnt down and when she was found, Lucy was suffering incredible injuries and died during that night.

The young woman had recently completed a training course in the Women's Hospital, and was about to enter the Medical School.

Her funeral was largely attended on Christmas Day and her brother missed it by a few days, having arrived home in the new year.


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