Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery

Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery

The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) is responsible for the State collection of arts, natural sciences and cultural material. It researches and exhibits this collection, often in conjunction with community stakeholders, and presents issues of significance to Tasmanian and interstate/overseas visitors. TMAG is the second oldest museum in Australia, and has for over 150 years, kept the stories of Tasmania alive.

2017 marked the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Black Tuesday bushfires. With support from the Tasmanian Community Fund, State Government, the Tasmanian Fire Service, Clarence City Council and business and community supporters, TMAG were able to produce the major exhibition and public program One Hell of an Inferno: the 1967 Tasmanian Bushfires.

In the fires, 64 lives were lost and a landscape scarred as the fires destroyed schools, properties, businesses, roads, bridges, fences - nearly 1500 homes and other buildings were destroyed.

The exhibition gathered stories through both oral and visual histories as well as through poignant artefacts - a singer sewing machine that was the sole remaining possession of a family who used it to rebuild their shattered lives; slumped glassware (all that remained of a wedding present), burnt school text books. It presented footage of the actual day, as well as video reminiscences of people who witnessed the events.

The exhibition explored the ways people responded and survived the 1967, and other more recent, fire events. The role of fire in our landscape including its importance in particular ecosystem ecologies was also explored through the exhibition. TMAG received the Museums and Galleries National Awards in the Temporary or Travelling Exhibition Level 2 category for the exhibition.