Tarawera eruption June 10, 1886
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Mrs. J. S. Thompson, aged 80 years at the time of the interview, was five years old at the time of the Mt Tarawera eruption on 10 June 1886.
She was too young to be afraid. They lived about 60 miles from Mt Tarawera across the plains and could see it clearly, although they did not realise that was where the eruption came from. They thought it was White Island.
Her father had arrived home late and it was around midnight when her parents went to bed. At first, there were small earthquakes and then a light which her parents originally thought was a chimney fire. When her mother realised what was happening, she had all the children dressed ready to flee.
In the morning they had a clear view of the eruption, seeing rocks and flames shooting into the air.
The station hands and servants were afraid and said the end of the world was coming - she remembers her mother trying to calm them.
They went to bed at home again that night. Earthquakes continued through the night. They were lucky to avoid the fall of ash and did not hear for three days that it had been Mt Tarawera which had erupted.
Reference number 39326
Media type AUDIO
Collection Sound Collection
Thompson, J. S., Speaker/Kaikōrero