A tragic day that would become known as Ash Wednesday dominated the front page on this day in 1983. A state of disaster had been declared in Victoria and South Australia because of bushfires that the headline said had killed 30. Sadly that number would grow to 74.
Hundreds of houses had been destroyed across Victoria and people killed from Warburton northeast of Melbourne to Warrnambool in the west of the state. The fires were fed by dry conditions and winds of more than 110km/h.
It was the first time a state of emergency had been called in Victoria since 1965. The death toll of this day would remain the worst until it was so terribly exceeded during the 2009 'Black Saturday' Victorian bushfires.
In South Australia, lives were lost in the southern Mt Gambier region, as well as the outer suburbs of Adelaide.
This terrible news event eclipsed what would otherwise have been a good news day for Canberra. Then federal opposition leader Bob Hawke had outlined an economic plan that the paper said would deliver "jobs galore" for Canberra.
According to the Hawke plan, there would be new public service jobs in the pricing-surveillance authority, economic planning advisory council, Australian Housing Fund, Electoral Commission and the National Law Reform Advisory Council.
Among a long list of tidbits for Canberra, the Australian Institute of Sport would get increased funding for one or two more sports and the $2 admission fee to the National Gallery would be abolished.