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by Diane Smith
(Toronto, NSW, Australia)
In 1974 I was a runaway, only 15 and was living in Darwin with my boyfriend and our mate, we had a room above the local betting shop in Cavanaugh Street. The fact that a cyclone was heading towards the city didn't worry us, heck when you’re a teenager nothing really worries you, your infallible. But our thoughts soon altered when we realised the magnitude of what was happening.
I think that almost everyone that was there back then can understand the emotional rollercoaster that was going on in my head. I went from disbelief that anything was going to happen ‘yeah okay a cyclone is coming’ to utter terror “*%#@ the building is going to be blown away with us in it” to utter bliss in the morning thinking “I survived” then fear once again when someone yelled out, “don’t get caught out on the streets we are in the eye of the cyclone” which brought back the terror and I thought “how will we survive if we have to go back into the storm so to speak”, then relief once again when we were told that we weren’t in the eye it had already passed over, then came a sense of guilt when standing in line and hearing of those that had been lost to their families and friends or lost everything except the clothes on their backs.
I saw a beautiful city become a warlike zone over night. But as usual the true Aussie nature surfaced and within what seemed like only a few hours food was being distributed, neighbours were making sure neighbours were safe and help from all over the country started to filter in.
I loved the freedom of living in one of the most beautiful cities that Australia had to offer and will always remember my time there with much fondness. We would sit in Raintree Park (which was in the middle of the city) every day and people would come up and just have a conversation with you without expecting anything but conversation in return. Oh how the times have changed.
I haven't got any of my photos left they have been lost over the years.
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