One Hell of an Inferno: The 1967 Tasmanian Bushfires

Opens 16-12-2016,  closes 19-03-2017

Argyle Galleries 1-3

Gore St Mill, TAHO

Black Tuesday, 7 February 1967. The day 110 fires exploded into an inferno that engulfed south eastern Tasmania in the state’s most catastrophic natural disaster. From near Lake Leake in the north to Recherche Bay in the south, from Triabunna in the east to the upper Huon River valley in the west,  bushfires burnt through 2640 square kilometres of forest, farmland and urban areas.

Fourteen hundred homes and other buildings were destroyed, 64000 farm animals perished and 900 people were injured. Some towns were almost wiped out, Hobart’s city centre was threatened. Worst of all, 64 people lost their lives.

One Hell of an Inferno: The 1967 Tasmanian Bushfires tells the story of the fires, why they occurred, their impact on people, communities and the environment, and how they could happen again. It tells how Tasmanian Aborigines successfully lived with and used fire for thousands of years, and  how the Tasmanian environment developed in conjunction with fire. It finishes by showing the beauty of Tasmania’s bush, an environment which is threatened every summer.

For an overview of the exhibition, see the below introductory video featuring footage of the fires as well as interviews with people reliving their experiences on Black Tuesday.

To explore some of the themes of One Hell of an Inferno, and see more video interviews featured in the exhibition, visit the below links:

Indigenous Fire Management

Community Day
Sunday 5 February 2017
10:00 am – 3:00 pm

TMAG presents a special day commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the 1967 Tasmanian Bushfires. Families can get involved with art and science activities, and curators will be leading tours of One Hell of an Inferno.

Visitors can learn about identifying bushfire hazards and risks, property preparations and what to include in their own bushfire survival plans from the TFS’s Bushfire-Ready Neighbourhoods Program.

Volunteers from the Tasmania Fire Museum will be on hand allowing visitors to get hands-on with real TFS uniforms and trucks, including an authentic 1941 Ford V8 pumper fire truck that saw action on Black Tuesday.

936 ABC Radio Hobart will also present a live broadcast from TMAG between 10:00 am and 12:00 pm on the day.

Download a program of events here


This project has been generously assisted by the Tasmanian Community Fund.

Visitors can also explore more stories about the fires in the Tasmania Fire Service’s 1967 Bushfires Storymap and visit the Clarence City Council’s exhibition What Would You Take? at the Schoolhouse Gallery in January 2017. You can also find out how to ensure your home is prepared for a bushfire at the Tasmania Fire Service Bushfire Ready Neighbourhoods website.

Image details: Gore Street Mill on fire, South Hobart. Image courtesy Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office