Monday’s heat soared about the previous record of 40.33 C, a record set way back in 1972.

“We had the hottest day on record for Australia and today it looks like we may well go better again” said Dr David Jones of Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology told AAP.

“This really puts the national dimension of this heat event into bigger context.”

“In records going way back to the start of 1911, yesterday – with an average temperature of 40.33 – is Australia’s new hottest day on record.”

Warburton in the Northern Territory recorded the highest temperature yesterday with a baking 47.2 C.

In Tasmania, Hobart recorded their hottest day for 120 years on Friday, 41.8 degrees centigrade, as bush fires raged across the island.

In a visit to Tasmania yesterday, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said “I’ve come to Tasmania today for one purpose. That’s to say to the people of Tasmania that the nation is standing with them at this very, very difficult time”.

Elsewhere, in New South Wales fire fighters have been struggling to contain “the worst fire situations in Australia history.” according to the International Business Times.

Main image: Sydney residents cool off in the sea at Bondi Beach, 4 Jan 2012 (Getty)