Forty Years on - Memories of the Darwin Disaster

In some ways it is hard to believe that it is 40 years since Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia was so brutally damaged on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, while the rest of us were celebrating oblivious to the tragedies unfolding in the north of the country.

My family - husband, daughter and son, had travelled to Mt Gambier in South Australia to spend Christmas with my parents, who lived in their fairly new home just a few hundred meters from where I had done my nursing training years earlier.

We had a lovely day - can't recall the details but I know it was good - with plenty of food (maybe turkey, and vegetables and Christmas pudding.  Yum.  Everyone was happy.  I don't know who turned the television on late in the afternoon.  Perhaps my husband, perhaps my father.  The headline news was of the disaster in Darwin and we all watched on in horror and disbelief.

Some 66 people died, and many thousands lost their homes.  It was a nightmare.  I had not been to Darwin .  I wasn't to visit until a few years later where I remained in the airport, but in 2013 I did visit.  

The cyclone warning signal is something I have heard on occasions since then.  Even now it strikes fear into me.  I confess I cried when I heard it as I found the video for this post.

I still find it hard to watch the video above.

Of course it is a different city now - with many of the buildings supposed to withstand the high winds that come with cyclones, but there has not been another one like cyclone Tracy.  It was so cruel that it destroyed Christmas for all who lived in Darwin.

Something I will never forget.


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