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Missed Tracey by Couple of Days
by Rick Freeman
Mum, Dad, Robyn and I missed Tracey - Thank God, because we were living in a Caravan Park in Nightcliff near the beach cliff Pool which still exists, but the Caravan Park does not! My father was one of the original Darwin Community College (DCC) (Now Charles Darwin University) Trade Teachers that started in 1974. We as a family had travelled up from Melbourne early January 1974 which took six weeks to arrive in Darwin after the "Great Flood of 74" across outback Queensland and N.T. which was a story in it's self.
On arriving in Darwin finally after those amazing six weeks across the Outback in Feb 74, There was no housing for our family so Dad put us on a Housing waiting list, which meant four years in a caravan before a house was available, after the Cyclone. We first lived at the Bagot Park Caravan Park for the first three months, which was near the Bagot Park. Dad and I spend many a Saturday Night watching the Speedway Cars racing and crashing.Mum, Dad, Robyn and I missed Tracey - Thank God, because we were living in a Caravan Park in Nightcliff near the beach cliff Pool which still It was fun for a thirteen old boy at the time.
After those first three months at that Caravan Park, Dad moved us to a better one near the beach at Nightcliff with beautiful big trees for shade over most of the caravans in the park and only a short bike ride to Nightcliff High School. What a year in Darwin, it was so different from Rosebud Victoria. Hot, Hot, Hot and very humid in the wet season.
As the year wound down and Christmas 74 was to arrive, our family drove out with our 19 foot Home to have Christmas Day with Dad Parents in Harvey Bay Qld. To arrive in time for Christmas Day, Dad drove until he could not drive any more. At about 12.30 PM we heard the last radio reports from the ABC in the car that Tracey was about to hit Darwin. About this time we went to sleep in the car. Dad started driving again at about 5.30 Am Christmas morning to push onto Harvey Bay while we all slowly woke up.
The first radio reports from the ABC while driving were saying there was no communications out of Darwin which was very concerning. We arrived at Nanna and Pop's at about 9.00 Am Christmas Morning. From then on everybody was " Glued to the TV" for any information about Darwin or from the News Papers. After a few days Dad was in communication with DCC Management and he was asked to go back to DCC to help out, because of his trade skills.
Once back in Darwin the only place we could stay with the Caravan was on DCC car park near the main Community Hall at the college, as it had water,showers, Toilets and Food available. As most of Darwin and suburbs was off limits and most of Darwin had been evacuated. This was very early January 75. One highlights amongst all the "kos" was that I watched a Colour TV for the very first time of Skyhooks - Horror Movie on Count Down in the DCC Main Hall, once TV transmissions had been re-instated. The other point of interest was that I met a girl from my days at Rosebud Primary School at Darwin High which I went too, for a few weeks, as all other High Schools were all closed
Big Wal (Dad) was asked after a month or so to Head Up a New Trade Campus of DCC at Alice Spring. So we as a family were on the move again.
That year 1975 was to be the last year our was every to live together permanently, as I went back to Rosebud to live with my Grandparents on Mums side and Mum, Dad and Robyn went back to Darwin 1976. Robyn still lives in Darwin with her family, Dad has "past on", and Mum lives back in Rosebud.