Assist Darwin - when the call went out

by Phillip Ross Mckendrick
(Sydney NSW)

HMAS Vamire at the Australian National Maritime Museum

HMAS Vamire at the Australian National Maritime Museum

I was an able seaman on HMAS Vampire and on duty in Sydney when we received a call about the disaster. The NAVY at Garden island was mobilised and due to Christmas leave all services were recalled. My Ship Vampire was in dry dock a the time and a contingent of sailors were sent to Townsville to join the fleet that had set sail.


Most ships set sail with minimum crew and we had to join either HMAS Melbourne or HMAS Brisbane. Garden island was a buzz of activity loading and storing tents blankets and food for the Assistance effort.I chose HMAS Brisbane.I also remember clearly sailing into Darwin Harbor to see the devastation that the cyclone had caused will be remember to this day (we lost a sailor on HMAS Acute that fateful day). I remember as we were leaving Sydney airport and the poor folks that came through Sydney from Darwin wide eyed and scared.

I was sent out with a crew to firstly clean up the naval houses that had been flattened. On the way to the area we saw steel tanks wrapped around poles and tanks and caravans up trees so high up that one could only imagine what people that had gone through this event.I was there for 3 weeks assisting the clean up and then we returned to Our ships in Sydney.

I will never forget the force of nature


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ARROW Advance class patrol boat
by: Anonymous

Once AGAIN I AM SORRY THAT I HAVE REPORTED THE INCORRECT PATROL BOAT THAT LOST LIVES IN DARWIN.
I WAS PREVIOUSLY THE FLEET MANGER AT THE AUSTRLAIN NATIONAL MUSEUM AND KNOW THE LIVES LOST IN CYCLONE TRACEY WERE ON ARROW.THE MIND AN TRAUMA THAT THE RAN SUFFERED ON THAT FATEFUL DAY.
Philip McKendrick clean up team ON LOAN FROM HMAS Vampire Christmas 1974
JOINED HMAS BRISBANE 1974

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lost sailors RAN during Cyclone Tracey
by: philip mckendrick

Hi my name is Phil McKendrick one of the sailors sent to assist Darwin and the Navy in its recovery when the cyclone bore through Darwin.

I know the attack class patrol boat that lost lives and the writer acknowledges that the boat that lost sailors under the wharf was HMAS Acute

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Lost Sailor
by: Kev Rainbow

I was serving in Darwin aboard HMAS Arrow during Tracy, and am unaware of any crew aboard Acute losing their life. However, 2 crew members on Arrow, ABMTP Jack Rennie and the Buffer, Les Caton, lost their lives during the Tracy. May they be resting in peace.

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thank you
by: Anonymous

as one of the survivors of cyclone Tracy i would like to thank you for you efforts and assistance after that fateful night. You and so many other military, Police, SES, Firefighters,and every other volunteer who helped were a godsend. thank you.

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