Home
Subjects
Titles
Authors
Links
Reference



Goldrush
Sad Dog
The Highway Boys
A Voyage to Australia
Fires of 1967
Jenny
Yesteryear
Spring 1961
Jimmy
Julie, eat your heart out!
The Last Stand of Black Pete
Enter the 21st Century
Tales from the Crib Room
Weather Watch
The Bus Trip from Hell
Agonising About Acronyms
The Vacuum Cleaner
Forward to the Past
List of 2003 stories

Fires of 1967

I woke at 6am on Tuesday 7th February 1967 - It was very hot and windy. I dressed and went out into the garden and hosed all my special plants and shrubs. I hosed the brickwork of the house - I donít know why. There was a lot of smoke about but I could still see Mt. Wellington from our home in Olinda Grove which faced all the beautiful bush and mountains.

The girls were quite excited as it was there first day back at school. We had a beautiful baby boy - he was eight months old and very special after three daughters. Every one had left for school Cam had gone to work at the Tourist Bureau at the Marine Board building on the wharf which he called Haemorrhoid House. I went about my morning chores. My word it was getting much hotter and the wind was gusting up to 100 miles per hour. The phone rang and it was Cam. "Is every thing Ok?" "Yes," I said, "just a lot of smoke and very hot." So I hung up and turned around to look out the window and all I could see was a wall of fire from one end of Olinda Grove to the other. It was frightening.

I wrapped young Keith in wet towels and tried to escape from the fires but I could not. I had to return inside to the home and wait. By this time the garden and all around the home was engulfed in flames. I ran the bath and Keith and I sat in the water, I would rather drown than burn to death. I had closed all the windows earlier - but now I could not touch the iron frames or the handles of the doors as they were too hot. This is it. The dog next door was on a running line and I saw the flames catch hold of his tail and I could not look any more. I sat down on the floor and prayed. I could hear the wind roaring and see the cinders flying around - the entire garden had burnt, the smell of eucalyptus oil was amazing.

There wasn't any Southern Outlet Highway or Advanced College of Education to impede the fire. The house was full of smoke and extremely hot. I thought it would explode. Had I opened one window the house would have blown up. Cam and the boys from work tried to get up the mountain but were turned back by the Police at Proctors Road. They tried going up the Bends and were told not to try, but they did get through. The fire had passed over the house by the time they arrived, but it was good to see them and gave me added strength. They hosed the tree stumps, etc.

Now where were the girls? No phone, no power - but we did have a Phillips battery radio, and listened to all that was going on about the fires. Apparently Taroona students were down at the beach, and Princes St students went to Nutgrove beach, and we didn't find them until late Tuesday night. The speed and the force of this fire was unreal, also how the fire hop-scotched along streets leaving brick houses and weather board houses - 34 houses were burnt along our street.

Top | 2003 stories | Writers Home