Audio John Teniswood recalls the 'Black Tuesday' bushfires, 2005

TLF ID R8819

This is an edited sound recording of John Teniswood, an English teacher at Huonville High School south-west of Hobart at the time of Tasmania's 'Black Tuesday' bushfires on 7 February 1967. Teniswood describes a frightening day, as he and some of his students sheltered in a classroom with some of the fires burning close by. The recording was made in August 2005 and lasts for 1 min 20 s.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This is a first-hand account of one of the most serious bushfire days in Australian history. It captures some of the drama of Tas's 'Black Tuesday' fires, which claimed 62 lives and destroyed about 1,400 homes and other buildings. Although some school buildings were destroyed, in all fire-affected areas teachers managed to keep children safe. The youngest person killed was 22 and the oldest 88.
  • The recording highlights the importance of all those in areas affected by bushfires trying to keep up-to-date with the progress of the fires. Teniswood relates in this recording how the smoke from the fires became thicker and that power to his year 10 classroom was lost. He went outside and parked his car outside the window so he and his class could follow news of the fires on the car's radio.
  • In the recording Teniswood also gives a sense of how rural communities can be devastated by bushfires. He mentions that some Huonville High students had stayed at home that day, the first day of the new school year, because of the fires nearby. He states that at the end of the day, 'a great many' of those who had come to school had no homes to return to.
  • Heavy rainfall in the 1966 winter and spring had given Tas luxuriant grassland growth but from November a prolonged dry period had begun, leaving large areas of dry grassland. This was a key factor enabling many of the 110 fires recorded on Black Tuesday to spread quickly on a day of high temperatures, very strong winds and low humidity.
TopicsForest fires

Other details

  • Publisher
  • Date of contribution: 20 Sep 2013
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
  • URL:
  • Copyright holder
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
  • URL:
  • Remarks: Copyright Education Services Australia
  • Content provider
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
  • URL:
  • Author
  • Date of contribution: 2005
  • Name: John Teniswood
  • Remarks: speaker
Access profile
  • Colour independence
  • Device independence
  • Hearing independence
Learning resource type
  • Sound
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  • © Education Services Australia Ltd, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements.