Friday, July 18, 2014

Windy City

Darwin’s Christmas blast from the past

Executive summary by darmansjah

DARWIN is a city with two histories-before Tracy and after Tracy. On Christmas Day 1974, Cyclone Tracy flattened the Australian city. Tracy was a small cyclone, only extending 30 miles out from its ‘eye’, but it made up for size with power – peak wind speeds were over 150mph – and accuracy (the centre of the storm passed right over the centre of the city). Tracy killed 71 people and destroyed 70 per cent of the city’s buildings.

There are still plenty of Tracy witnesses, ready to recount hairy stories of having their house dismantled around them, until they were cowering behind the bathtub watching sheets of corrugated iron spin by, striking sparks like a Catherine wheel.

The city’s museum at Bullocky Point bring the cyclone alive. I wanted to cover my ears when I heard a tape recording of the howling wind, although I was impressed that someone had the nerve to record the racket.
Darwin has recovered from the impact of Tracy (Tracy destroyed more than 9,000 homes in just a few hours) and with a new waterfront area and convention centre, there is something new with every visit.

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