Ada me­mo­rial gath­ers sup­port

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS - By Rory Sheav­ils

WITH winds of more than 150kmh, Cy­clone Ada dev­as­tated the Whit­sun­day com­mu­nity when it crossed the coast late on Jan­uary 17, 1970.

At the time, Ada caused about $12 mil­lion in dam­age and re­sulted in the deaths of 13 peo­ple.

Given the cy­clone’s se­vere im­pact, Whit­sun­day MP Ja­son Costi­gan has called for a me­mo­rial to mark the event.

Proser­pine Mu­seum vol­un­teer Peter Har­ling said he was in sup­port of an of­fi­cial re­mem­brance of Ada.

“Ev­ery­body used to talk about ‘be­fore Cy­clone Ada’ and ‘af­ter Cy­clone Ada’,” he said.

Mr Har­ling’s wife, Mar­garet Har­ling, agreed.

“I think there should be some­thing to tell peo­ple what hap­pened,” she said.

Fel­low vol­un­teer Bernar- dine Stevens was at home in Proser­pine when things re­ally started to kick off.

“The old lady across the road lived in this old house,” she said.

“There was a shed that was more re­cent and ev­ery gust of wind would take off a whole strip of iron.

“All th­ese bits of iron – you could see them fly past our place.”

The af­ter­math proved dev­as­tat­ing, with de­struc­tion all around.

“We had no elec­tric­ity, so you couldn’t do any­thing,” Ms Stevens said.

“You don’t re­alise how much elec­tric­ity helps un­til it’s gone.”

Ms Stevens said the in­tense winds stripped trees bare.

“You could just see all th­ese bare trunks,” she said.

“You just wouldn’t be­lieve the wind.”

Glo­ria Cowan also made men­tion of Ada in a piece for the Proser­pine His­tor­i­cal Mu­seum So­ci­ety mag­a­zine, ti­tled Mem­o­ries of a Po­lice­man’s Daugh­ter.

“That first morn­ing, Dad told us to stay in­doors but we watched from the open up­stairs veranda as sheets of iron from the sugar mill were flung through the air,” she wrote.

Mem­ber for Whit­sun­day Ja­son Costi­gan said a me­mo­rial “should have hap­pened years ago”.

“For what­ever rea­son it never did, and I think that’s re­ally dis­ap­point­ing,” he said.

This week also marks five years since the re­gion was hit by the sim­i­larly dev­as­tat­ing Cy­clone Yasi, which made land­fall at Mis­sion Beach at 1am on Fe­bru­ary 3, 2011, as a cat­e­gory five cy­clone be­fore mov­ing in­land to Mount Isa.

HIS­TORY: Proser­pine His­tor­i­cal Mu­seum vol­un­teers Caro­line Leaver, Peter Har­ling, Gay Gillies and Bernar­dine Stevens look at old pho­tos de­pict­ing Cy­clone Ada's im­pact.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.