The weather during this month was very hot. The 5th was a day most excessively sultry. The wind blew strong from the northward of west; the country, to add to the intense heat of the atmosphere, was everywhere on fire. At Sydney, the grass at the back of the hill on the west side of the cove, having either caught or been set on fire by the natives, the flames, aided by the wind which at that time blew violently, spread and raged with incredible fury. One house was burnt down, several gardens with their fences were destroyed; and the whole face of the hill was on fire, threatening every thatched hut with destruction. The conflagration was with much difficulty (notwithstanding the exertions of the military) got under, after some time, and prevented from doing any further mischief. At different times during this uncomfortable day distant thunder was heard, the air darkened, and some few large drops of rain fell. The apparent danger from the fires drew all persons out of their houses; and on going into the parching air, it was scarcely possible to breathe; the heat was insupportable; vegetation seemed to suffer much, the leaves of many culinary plants being reduced to a powder. The thermometer in the shade rose above one hundred degrees. Some rain falling toward evening, the excessive heat abated.
At Parramatta and Toongabbie also the heat was extreme; the country there too was every where in flames. Mr. Arndell was a great sufferer by it. The fire had spread to his farm; but by the efforts of his own people and the neighbouring settlers it was got under, and its progress supposed to be effectually checked, when an unlucky spark from a tree, which had been on fire to the topmost branch, flying upon the thatch of the hut where his people lived, it blazed out; the hut with all the out-buildings, and thirty bushels of wheat just got into a stack, were in a few minutes destroyed. The erecting of the hut and out-houses had cost L15 a short time before.
The day preceding that of the excessive heat, James Castles, an industrious and thriving settler at Prospect Hill, had his hut accidentally burnt down, with all his comforts, and three bushels of wheat which he had just reaped. The governor ordered his hut to be rebuilt, and every assistance given which the stores afforded to repair his loss.
There died between the 1st of January and 31st of December 1792, two of the civil department, six soldiers, four hundred and eighteen male convicts, eighteen female convicts, and twenty-nine children; one male convict was executed; and three male convicts were lost in the woods; making a decrease by death of four hundred and eighty-two persons.
The following were the prices of stock, grain, and other articles, as they were sold at Sydney, and at Parramatta, at the close of the year: