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Camping where houses once stood.

by Christine

I visited Darwin on a camping Coach Tour holiday to the Top End, several months after cyclone Tracey.

On the road leading in to Darwin, all the trees were completely bare, and many were starting to shoot leaves all over the trunks, which looked odd. There wasn’t much left of Darwin. It looked like a battle zone and was completely flattened, and but the clean up was well underway, with very large piles of rubble every where.

Seeing the devastation made us all feel helpless.
The typical style of house seemed to be a three bedroom box shape house elevated off the ground, up about twenty steps, and a concrete slab beneath the house, used as a carport and laundry. There were whole streets and suburbs without a house in site, just piles of rubble and corrugated iron, and every so often in the midst of the desolation, the top floor of a house remained, with part of a wall.

Amazingly, and yet tragically, families were living in some of these house wrecks, downstairs in the carport area, with blue tarps wrapped all around. It would have been hard going, trying to survive there, without running water, a toilet, and electricity to cook with etc. There were also people living in cars where their houses had been. As we drove past, we decided not to take photos, as it seemed to be offensive to the people living there who'd lost everything.

The main CBD looked like a battle zone area too, big piles of rubble and corrugated iron at entry points. Alot of the shops in the main street had been boarded up, and one, a women’s clothing chain store, had a metal roller door, and was open for business. We all bought some clothes, as there didn’t seem to be a laundromat around.

We chose to go visit the Top End and go camping, but the survivors had no choice, but to camp, where their homes once stood.

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