Black Tuesday 1967
On Tuesday 7 February 1967, 110 fires ravaged southern Tasmania. These devastating fires came within two kilometres of central Hobart, killing 62 people and destroying 1293 homes.
In the midst of the summer bushfire season, the lessons learnt from these fires are as relevant today as they were in 1967.
The Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre, with support from the Tasmania Fire Service, has produced a short film on the 1967 Hobart fires.
Black Tuesday was shown on Southern Cross Television in Hobart and Darwin on Saturday, 4 February 2006.
The film is an account of four people’s lives, including the experience of the now Chief Fire Officer of Tasmania, John Gledhill. These people recount their experiences of that day, of the loss, the near misses and the strength of the Hobart community in rebuilding parts of the city.
Mr Gledhill was 14 when the fires struck. ``Black Tuesday taught us a lot about what we must do to prevent this sort of thing happening again,’’ he said. ``In fact, the operational lessons learnt from Hobart in 1967, led to the creation of today’s Tasmania Fire Service.’’
The CEO of the Bushfire CRC, Kevin O’Loughlin, said research on the lessons of history was an important way to prepare for the present. ``The film provides a fantastic educational tool for Australian fire and land management agencies as well as for the general public who regular face the danger of bushfire. The personal nature of the film means that it will appeal to a wide age group and enable viewers to place themselves in the shoes of people who witnessed the horror of Hobart in 1967,’’ he said.
The Bushfire CRC, in conjunction with the Tasmania Fire Service, has distributed Black Tuesday to 47 public libraries across Tasmania and is planning to send it to schools and other educational settings.