The 1967 Tasmanian Bushfires is also referred to as Black Tuesday and is the worst bushfire event in Tasmania’s history. It is also one of Australia’s worst bushfire events on record.
In the lead up to the 1966-1967 bushfire season, Tasmanian had an increase in vegetation growth due to a wet winter and early spring. This was then followed by the driest summer since 1885.
On the 7 of February 1967, there was approximately 110 bushfires burning in Southern Tasmania. Most of these fire burning where due to burning off on previous days, accidental causes or deliberately lit.
Later in the day temperatures hit 39 degrees and the Forest Fire Index reached a rating of 128, which in today’s scale is Catastrophic.
In only 24 hours the bushfires had killed 62 people and injured a further 900 people. 1,400
homes were destroyed plus a further 1,700 other structures lost.
The bushfires also destroyed 80 bridges, 5,400km of fencing, 1,500 vehicles, killed 62,000 head of stock and burned over 264,000ha of land.
Multiple towns were threatened from north in the areas of Hamilton and Bothwell, south to Snug and the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, where there was a large amount of damage to farming infrastructure.
Heavy agricultural damage also occurred around the Derwent Valley and Huon Valley areas and other bushfires destroyed public infrastructure, properties and forests east of Hobart, around Mount Wellington and many towns along the Derwent Estuary.
What is staggering about this bushfire event is most of the destruction was caused within a 5 hour period.
There is a memorial for the 1967 Tasmanian Bushfires in Snug, south of Hobart. The memorial consists of a plaque with all 62 names of the people killed, fixed to a brick chimney, as well as storyboards telling the story of the bushfires.
For the 1967 Tasmanian Bushfires simply click the link to be taken to the photo gallery.