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Title: Time to move
Name: Sealy, J.
My Story: My family, originally from Sydney, moved to Darwin toward the end of 1974, having spent 4 years in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. On Christmas eve, 1974,  we were living in an elevated home in Thornton Crescent, Moil. Around 11pm the wind and rain was pretty fierce and my old man, a building surveyor, decided the family had to find a safer place to sit out the storm.  That decision, as it turned out, save our lives. That safer place was Nakara primary school. The old man, in our short time in Darwin, had been there and remembered it as structurally sound.  The drive to the school was eventful.  Power lines along Trower road were crashing to the ground however we eventually arrived at the school only to find that  the all rooms were locked and we had little time to choose a place to shelter.  We came across an entrance, about 2m deep, 3m wide in a passage way and we huddled in there.  The next few hours were unbelievable.  A metre in front of us, sheets of corrugated iron, lengths of timber, all sorts of household goods, even a washing machine, flew past us.   We were soaked and shaking, probably a combination of cold and fear.  Then silence.  It was a really strange experience, such intensity and then nothing. Just as feelings of relief sank in, it started again but this time in the opposite direction.  We huddled again.  By now the ceiling above was beginning to collapse exposing power cables.  We were sitting in water and did not know if the cables were live.  Behind us was an office door but we weren?t sure if the building structure behind it was still intact.  Decision time, stay and risk electrocution or force our way through the door.  We chose the latter and fortunately the door led to an office that was still intact and we sat out the rest of the cyclone in much more comfortable conditions. On Christmas morning we looked out and every house we could see was destroyed.  Any trees that survived were stripped of all their leaves.  It was a typical wet season morning, low clouds and light rain.  I remember thinking we are the only survivors yet people emerged from the wreckage and made their way toward the school. We decided to walk home.  Sounds easy but not so when you have no idea where you are.  Due to the destruction of landmarks and street signs, we got lost a number of times finding our way from Goodman Street Nakara to Thornton Crescent Moil.  Eventually we found was what left of our house, nothing, only stilts and floorboards remained.  The decision to leave the night before proved to be a good one. We were evacuated to Sydney 3 days later on a RAAF Hercules.  On-route, engine failure forced us to land in Charleville, Qld.  The people there were amazing; at short notice they put us up at the local hotel overnight , meals and live band included.  Also on the positive side, my brothers and I managed to avoid the tetanus injection that a doctor thought we needed. The next day we landed at Mascot airport, Sydney.  As we disembarked everyone was staring at us, our 15 minutes of fame!.  We walked into the Qantas hangars, filled with tables covered in clothing.They said take whatever you need.  Pretty good considering we only had what we were wearing.  In times of adversity the generosity of people is incredible.
Use and Restrictions: Cyclone Tracy Story Project Agreement
Subject: Cyclone Tracy, 1974
Place: Moil
File type: application/pdf
Appears in Collections:Cyclone Tracy
Territory Times Gone By

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