During the afternoon of 7 February 1967, Southeast Tasmania had the highest bushfire danger rating ever recorded in Australia. On that afternoon 110 fires were free burning and by the end of the day Australia had experienced its worst bushfire disaster occurring in such a short space of time. The death toll was 62 and over 1300 houses were destroyed, some within a kilometre of Hobart's CBD.

Fern Tree was burnt out loosing 80% of its houses including the two-storey timber hotel, the shop and parish hall. From 3am the Fern Tree fire brigade was called out to a fire at Neika. Units from the Hobart Fire Brigade joined them and were trapped for the entire day fighting fires in that area.

A fire originating in the Tolosa Park area caused most of the damage around Hobart and in Fern Tree. Around 2pm the fire swept up over the Strickland Avenue Huon Road junction, spreading out to Ridgeway and up to Bracken Lane. At the same time another fire was burning down the Mountain destroying the Springs Hotel.

Up to two hundred people sheltered in front of the Fern Tree Hotel as the fire, now a myriad of fronts, swept through Fern Tree. As the Hotel burned, the people sheltering in front were evacuated by trucks sent up from Hobart. Some residents stayed with their houses, others made their own dramatic escapes down Summerleas Road to Kingston. There was no loss of life in Fern Tree on that day.

  Bushfire images


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