1967 Fires Remembered

7th February 1967 marked the 50th anniversary of the notorious Tasmanian bushfires, our worst recorded natural disaster.

On that day, 110 fires across southern Tasmania converged to create a massive fire front that resulted in 64 deaths, over 900 injuries, loss of 80,000 head of stock and 7,000 people were made homeless.

The magnitude of this event was huge, and drew-in all available resources.  Property owners, volunteers and professional fire fighters worked side by side to defend homes, evacuate people and try to limit the impact of the fires.  While many hills still show stands of dead trees that act as a stark reminder of that day, others recall that windy and devastating summer day.

Two exhibitions mark this notorious event: ‘One Hell of an Inferno’ at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG), which is on display until 19 March 2017; and ‘What Would You Take?’ at the Rosny Barn, organised by the Clarence City Council, which is on until Sunday, 12 February 2017. 

DPIPWE representatives Louise Wilson, General Manager of the Natural and Cultural Heritage Division, and Pete Smith, Director Heritage Tasmania, attended one of the 50th anniversary commemorative services held at the TMAG, where stories of loss, survival and hope were shared. The event also acknowledged the many people who contributed to the response on the day and in the weeks, months and years to follow.

The service also included a preview of FIRE a performance by Silkweed, which is being presented as part of 10 Days on the Island this year, and uses music and spoken word to impart insights into that fateful day.

If you are interested in understanding more about this notorious day in Tasmania’s history why not check one or both the TMAG or Rosny Barn exhibtions, listen to ABC 936's collection of oral histories, or check out FIRE in the 10 Day’sprogramme.

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