Rockhampton in March, 2017

Friday March 31, 2017

We had not planned on being in Rockhampton in March and for the first 4 days that we were here, we were neither in the holiday mindset. Nor did we wish to venture out of our hotel and get wet. It would have been a shame to waste the visit and not see anything of Rockhampton.

The reason we came to Rockhampton was because we had been evacuated from Airlie Beach, our home and community with the devastation of Cyclone Debbie fast approaching.

We have not been able to return to our home at Cannonvale as the Bruce Highway is cut in three places so for the present we are staying put in Rockhampton.

My trip to Ireland is fast approaching so I must stay focused, even with the devastating news about our home and Community in Cannonvale. I must continue my research in readiness for my visit to Ireland.

I spent a couple of hours at the Rockhampton Library where I met a very enthusiastic local and family history officer, Cheryl Rickard who was only too happy to chat with me about her family history research and pass on some very helpful tips as well.

Rockhampton bore the brunt of the tail end of the Cyclone with pounding rains and rising river levels. No strong winds, luckily but constant rain, humidity and low, grey, rumbling skies. We woke one morning with the creek water rising so high that it was lapping our balcony. Quite scary.

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Cyclone Debbie

Waiting for Cyclone Debbie

Sunday Morning 26 March, 2017 6am.

I am awake early because I am on Cyclone watch, waiting for Cyclone Debbie to make landfall somewhere in the Australian tropics. It is possible that it will affect my area which is the beautiful Whitsundays. It is due to arrive in the next 48 hours. It is an unwelcome visitor as until it lands, we will not know where it will strike and how much damage it will cause. We can only hope and pray that it will have a minimal affect.

As I wait, memories of other Cyclones that I have experienced come flooding back.

This is the first time that I have ever told this story due to the Ansett Airlines of Australia confidentiality clause on the contract that I signed when I joined Ansett Airlines as a Flight Attendant in 1973. This confidentiality clause prevented me from talking to the Press during my term of employment. As Ansett Airlines is now defunct and I am no longer employed by them, it is time to tell the story.

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