Pacific Highway landmark the Big Prawn roadhouse was one of several structures destroyed by the bushfire that ripped through a huge swathe of land at the southern end of Lake Macquarie.
The highway stop had only recently been renovated, but stood no chance as flames were whipped up by a strong nor’wester.
NBN News spoke to several people who were holed up at an evacuation centre at Swansea RSL overnight. One woman, a Catherine Hill Bay local, said four historic buildings had been destroyed. They were the Jetty House, the Master’s House, the church and the Pines.
Firefighters from Wyoming on the Central Coast have described the extreme conditions they encountered. Captain Phil Elms told NBN News that brooms and other equipment on an RFS truck he was following out of the blaze, actually caught fire.
Reports that the “Catho” pub had been destroyed proved incorrect. Catherine Hill Bay Surf Club was also saved.
Firefighters are still trying to get the upper hand on the fire burning in an area spanning Doyalson North, Swansea, Cams Wharf, Murrays Beach, Cave Beach and Catherine Hill Bay areas. The fire has crossed Nords Wharf Road and is south of Cams Wharf Road. Firefighters are conducting backburning where possible.
The RFS says the fire is threatening the properties in the following areas:
•Pacific Highway and Tall Timbers Road, Doyalson North
•Carters Road and Chain Valley Bay Road, Lake Munmorah
•Kanangra Drive, Gwandalan
•Clarke Street and Montefoire Street, Catherine Hill Bay
•Awakbakal Drive and Government Road, Nords Wharf
Around 100 people were at an evacuation centre set up in the Swansea Memorial Hall at 11 last night, all looking for emergency accomodation. An emergency evacuation centre has also been set up at Swansea Workers and Doyalson RSL.