Gath­er­ing fire mem­o­ries

The Gazette (Derwent Valley) - - NEWS -

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

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