Gathering fire memories
MANY people in the Derwent Valley can relate a story about the devastating 1967 bushfires, based either on their first-hand experience of that day or stories passed down through older relatives.
Now there is an opportunity for members of the community to tell their memories as the Tasmania Fire Service tours a video booth around the state to collect stories to mark the 50th anniversary of the disaster in 2017.
The fires, which claimed 62 lives, left about 900 injured and thousands homeless, are considered one of the worst disasters to have occurred in Australia.
This year, Hobart resident Marjory Woolford recorded a story recollecting that “the morning of February the 7th, 1967, began as most other days began but the morning had an oppressive feel about it with foreboding of something sinister about to happen”.
In another video story, another Southern Tasmanian resident Helen Walch remembers “heading to Kingston was a terrible journey so dark at times and the fire kept catching up and trees and bushes were on fire.
``As we approached Taroona fire was on both sides of the road and large pieces of houses were blowing on the road”.
Residents of the Derwent Valley are invited to record their stories in the video booth when it visits the Derwent Valley Autumn Festival on April 10 and at the New Norfolk Library from April 11-23.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the bushfires in February 2017, the collected stories will be featured online and as part of a major exhibition at the Tasmania Museum and Art Gallery next year.
Mrs Woolford’s story, which was recorded at the Hobart branch of Bendigo Bank in January, can be viewed on YouTube on the TasmaniaFireService channel.
For more information on the project go to the State Government website, fire.tas.gov.au.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 30, 2016