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Rock and Tempest

Surviving Cyclone Tracy and its Aftermath

Patricia Collins Luke Causby

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Hachette Australia
26 June 2024
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When Cyclone Tracy flattened Darwin on Christmas Day 1974, it was the worst natural disaster Australians had ever experienced. Stationed in the city with the Women's Royal Australian Naval Service, Patricia Collins not only lived through Tracy but was part of the massive clean-up effort. This is her extraordinary story.

The experience of living through a terrifying natural disaster is chillingly told by Collins as she recounts her own dark hours that Christmas, along with those of her contemporaries. They sat huddled in doorways and bathtubs as the winds raged, lifting off roofs, picking up cars and sinking ships. Most of the city was destroyed. Seventy-one people died.

The Navy suffered terrible losses. A patrol boat was sunk with the loss of two crewmen and another was driven onto rocks. A sailor lost his wife and two children, and another lost his young son.

In the days after Tracy, the majority of Darwin's population was evacuated interstate as the Navy's Task Force arrived to clean up and rebuild. Collins was there as a survivor of Tracy and now an integral part of the recovery.

Rock and Tempest contains astonishing first-person accounts of terror and uncertainty as well as courage and survival. It is fascinating and moving, and absolutely essential reading.
Designed by:  
Imprint:   Hachette Australia
Country of Publication:   Australia
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 153mm, 
Weight:   300g
ISBN:   9780733650239
ISBN 10:   0733650236
Pages:   320
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  ELT Advanced ,  Primary
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Patricia Collins was a Wran (the women's branch of the RAN) stationed in Darwin at the time of Cyclone Tracy. She wrote a brief account of her experiences during Tracy and the clean-up for her son when he was a teenager and interested in what had happened. The essay was submitted by a third party to the editor of the magazine Australian Warship and was subsequently published with her permission in Issue 24 in 2005. Patricia then turned it into a book and brought in experiences from many of those she served with during that time. Rock and Tempest is her first book.

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