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Title: Fill the bath with water
Name: Sheppard, Trisha
My Story: Memories of Christmas 1974 are still pretty clear however, while we may differ occasionally on our story, the sounds of the night will never fade.We had just purchased our first home, located in Moil and lived there with our 4 year old son and two golden labradors. Life was promising and we were all looking forward to Christmas day. We weren't very troubled by the cyclone warning as we had lived in Queensland previously and had some experience with tropical storms. The early evening was spent cooking and making last minute preparations for the planned breakfast with friends on Christmas morning.It wasn't until mid evening that we became conscious of the strengthening wind and, recalling the cyclone warning advertisement run at the time on TV, we followed the advice and filled the bath with water.  It wasn't long before the force of the wind began to tear at our little house.  Louvres began breaking and we moved our dogs into the house and retrieved our son from his bed. We made for the bathroom reaching the door as the windows burst and blew broken glass into our water filled tub.Around us the house was breaking up.  The roof was screeching as the timber and iron parted company.  We made a dash for the bedroom to shelter under the bed only to discover the bed had iron hoops under it and we couldn't fit.  There was no time to panic, we knew we had to find a haven.  We crouched down between the wall and the bed and pulled the mattress over us just as the roof finally peeled away.  We could hear our beloved dogs crying but there was no room for them in our cramped confines.  The wardrobe fell on top of the mattress covering us but even then, it rose and fell with the wind gusts while we hung on for our lives.  The outer wall which was giving us shelter blew out and my husband was exposed to the elements.  We had our son in between us and held on to each other as the wind sucked and pulled us upwards and sideways.  We said goodbye to each other as we were now fearful we couldn't survive.  All the while our son huddled in between us while the wind screamed and roared above us.More debris landed on us and while at times, it made it hard to breathe, it also made the covering heavy and was instrumental in saving our lives.  We can't recall the peace of the eye, the whole night was spent gripping the mattress, listening to the tearing and shattering of iron and glass.  Perhaps we did have respite but we certainly couldn't get out from under the weight of debris.Finally the wind diminished and dawn broke.  Our Greek neighbours came to our rescue and pulled us out.  Amazingly, both our dogs survived.  One had been caught under the falling wardrobe and had ridden the waves of wind. Everything was lost, but fresh air never smelled sweeter.  There wasn't a tree in sight and we had a clear view of the distant airport.To this day, the sounds of scraping tin and the wind when it reaches a certain pitch makes my blood run cold.
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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