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Cyclone Tracey still haunts me 35 years later.
by Bronwen Edwards
I was 13 and living in Moil Crescent, Darwin on 24th December 1974. I remember the day starting off strangely cos there was a cow in our garden, my dad rang the radio and they broadcast it saying something like 'has someone lost their girlfriend!'. We'd had cyclone warnings before and we weren't really worried, they always passed by, right?
Needless to say Cyclone Tracey decided to visit and as the wind and rain got worse we ended up sheltering in a wardrobe for 5 hours, 4 adults and 3 kids, as the house disintegrated around us.
At one point the wind stopped and it went eerily quiet for about 10-20 minutes. When the wind started up again as well as the wind and stuff crashing about we could hear a noise like when you spin a rope round really fast, I can only think it was the power lines.
When we came out it was all black and grey, no colour, no birds singing, no distinguishable sounds, no people. We thought we were the only ones alive and we all just stood and stared out of the window in silence looking for signs of life.
When people started to emerge, like us they walked like zombies, in their nightware mostly, to Moil primary school. We spent the night there, hoping Tracey wouldn't come back, and were evacuated back to England the day after boxing day, all we had was the clothes we wore and a mail sack containing a few belongings we'd managed to find. I never saw some of my friends ever again.
I heard many stories that saddened me, one I recall was that there'd been a stables on the cliffs at Fannie Bay and all the horses had been blown into the sea.
I've been back to Darwin since, and would move there in a heartbeat, cyclones or not - a part of me will always be there.