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Lost friends....and lots of memories!
by Steve Roddick
(Blue Mountains, NSW)
I have very fond memories of growing up in Darwin.
My younger brother and I lived on the RAAF base, and walked over the Bagot Rd bridge to Ludmilla Primary School everyday.
I can remember lots of good things about those years (1971-1974), playing footy with my mates...Moogy, Ninny, and Tommy and going to watch BROTHERS play on the weekend. Duck shooting, fishing, swimming, it was fantastic.
As a 12 year old RAAF kid we moved a lot and Darwin was the first place in my life that I considered a home, then one night....it all changed, TRACY paid us a visit.
It wasnt that scary because it was just another Cyclone Warning, we had several warnings that time each year, I remember another warning were school finished early and we walked home with the gutters overflowing, we walked in the gutters with the water splashing over our shins. No big deal!
Tracey was different, that night we were woken and told to get in the bath.....the noise was incredible, it sounded like a jet aeroplane was parked next door, my brother Bill, Jerry (the dog), and myself were in the bath until dawn, Mum was on the floor, and Dad was going window to window trying to assess the damage or save what he could.
When the sun finally arose we were one of the lucky ones....we still had part of a roof, and some walls. I remember looking out of the bathroom window and our next door neighbour was gone, only a floor on stilts with a few pieces of furniture scattered around, no walls, no roof......I have always wondered what happened to that family from Chinchilla Rd?
The streets were just covered in debris, power poles were bent like pretzels, or snapped off at the ground, cars were overturned and destroyed beyond repair. More importantly lives were destroyed, or damaged forever.
I know I was one of the lucky ones, evacuated the next day on a RAAF HERCULES to Adelaide, never to see my mates again, but safe. My life became that off a typical RAAF kid again, constantly on the move.....one day I will return to Darwin, and I just may go and watch a BROTHERS game, or get a phone book and look up my old mates.