Fires usually come from the north and west but the fire of 1957 came from the south. There were a number of fires around Leura that year, one of which did enormous damage at Leura and it was thought that it was that fire that crossed the Grose to Mt Wilson and Mt Irvine. There was a very strong wind blowing and the story is that it travelled '20 miles in 20 minutes'. Sid Kirk was on Wynnes Rocks Road and saw it jump to Mt Banks then skip across to Mt Wilson.

You will note that on the Zig Zag now there are no very large sassafras trees, as they were all burnt. The big eucalypts survived because those eucalypts can reshoot from epicormic buds (buds underneath the bark) whereas the sassafras trees have to reshoot from the roots.

The fire continued to the south of Mt Wilson creating spot fires below Jalscene and Merry Garth. Once again the vegetation gives us the clues as to the progress of the fire. One of the loveliest sights is the stand of Mountain Ash from Zircon Creek along Mt Irvine Road. They are tall and slim and all the same size. Mountains Ashes do not sprout from epicormic buds or lignotubers but rather from seed. These stands all arose from the ash after the 1957 fires.

When they heard of the fires the Naylor family came up from Sydney via Bowens Creek Road. The fire had reached the road and the wooden culverts were alight. Ron ordered the family out of the car and drove at speed over the culverts – just in case they collapsed. The fire continued around Irvinholme and one of the sheds caught fire from radiant heat. Helen's mother, Marjorie Morley, then in her sixties, put it out with a leather beater and buckets of water.

The fire destroyed the Mt Irvine School (where the current hall and tennis court are located), the home of Miss Jacob (now Willowbank), who had the telephone exchange, and Charlie Clarke's cottage (below Mt Irvine station). It also burnt the garage at 282 Mt Irvine Rd and the steps and garage at Corybas. Peter Kirk and Bill Brown were fighting the fires with knapsacks at Mt Irvine. At Corybas they cut the top off the water tank and used buckets of water to fight the fires. Fire fighting equipment in our two villages has definitely changed!

Children who were staying at Bowenlea with Nell Knight-Brown and at Taihoa with Ruth Scrivener were taken to shelter in the middle of a paddock (Painui) and covered with blankets. Ruth Scrivener, with daughter Vicki being not yet two, remembers being terrified and, although a country girl, had never experienced bushfires. Nevertheless, she shut the windows, filled buckets and soaked a blanket to use in putting out the flames.

Meanwhile Bill Scriverner was stuck at the Zig Zag. He couldn't drive up so walked up and met Jack Gunn. After clearing the Zig Zag they went and put out the fires below Peter Kirk's place (he was out at Mt Irvine).

After the fires the Southern, Sunday Ridge Spur and Northern fire trails and around Lamb's Hill were all built (probably laid out by Tom and Peter Kirk and built by Jack Tolhurst) and a dam constructed on Dane's Way. In January 2002, the dam was cleaned out only to be destroyed in July 2002 by National Parks personnel who, not having consulted the community, did not realise that the dam had been there for 45 years!

The 1957 fires were the start of a more organised 'Bush Fire Brigade'. About this time the old fire shed at Mt Wilson was built to house a truck from Headquarters and sometime later a small 4 wheel drive ute. Prior to this the Kirks, Gunns and Morleys all had their own trucks that they used to fight the fires.