Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1859 - 1929), Thursday 17 January 1895, page 2
Inquiries made regarding the destruction of the Meredith shire hall, which was found to be in flames at an early hour on Tuesday morning, have not resulted in anything definite being learned as the origin of the fire. An irreparable loss has been sustained by the municipality through the fire, which consumed the whole of the shire records, as well as those of the old-time borough of Steiglitz, all of which were stored above the ceiling of the lobby within the front entrance.
The fire evidently originated in the front portion of the premises, and swept right through the hall, only the stone walls enclosing a heap of ashes being left standing. The theory advanced by the shire secretary regarding the disaster is that some burning material was blown from a fire which had been left in the yard outside by the woman engaged to clean the hall, found a lodgment beneath the roof, and ignited the nests of the sparrows which built in large numbers.
The fire, he says, after smouldering for some time probably communicated to the mass of papers stored above the ceiling of the lobby. The pine laths of the plas tered ceiling in the hall proved ready fuel for the flames, and the whole building was soon in a blaze from end to end.
The secretary and Senior Constable Arnold, of Steiglitz, left the office at half-past 8 o'clock, everything being then apparently safe. A char woman engaged in cleaning out the premises burnt a large quantity of old papers within a few feet of the walls. When those who first noticed the conflagration arrived upon the scene, the fire lighted by the charwoman was still smouldering, and the wind was blowing in the direction of the front office.
The whole of the secretarial books were lost, but some cheques and the insurance policy over the premises were recovered from the safe after the fire had died out. The furniture of the hall was also saved.
The loss is covered by insurance to the amount of £800 in the Colonial Mutual Office.
The ordinary meeting of the council which was to have been held yesterday, has been adjourned till Wednesday next