The Cyclone Ada Memorial Committee has been working on Saturday's Memorial Service and Dedication for more than a year. Pictured at their last meeting are (back) Alan Garlick, Barbara Southwood and David Steen and (front) Jeannie Grosskreutz, Kaye Mee Cronan and Gloria Demartini.
The Cyclone Ada Memorial Committee has been working on Saturday's Memorial Service and Dedication for more than a year. Pictured at their last meeting are (back) Alan Garlick, Barbara Southwood and David Steen and (front) Jeannie Grosskreutz, Kaye Mee Cronan and Gloria Demartini.

Cyclone Ada recognised with special service and dedication

FIFTY years on from the terror of Cyclone Ada, a committed group of survivors are commemorating the event that changed forever the lives of those who went through it.

The category 3 cyclone was one of the worst to ever hit the region, killing 14 people and wreaking havoc with wind gusts up to 220 kms/hr.

It crossed the coast near Shute Harbour late on Saturday, January 17, and caused considerable damage from the high winds and subsequent flooding, on Sunday, January 18.

Now, the survivors of the intense cyclone have banded together to create a lasting memorial befitting of the disaster, and deliver a special service, due to take place on Saturday, January 18, 2020.

The memorial - made possible through funding from Whitsunday Regional Council - will be a granite and stone structure erected on the Airlie Foreshore, about halfway between the creek and the Airlie Hotel, and unveiled at 2pm.

Following the dedication of the memorial, there will be an informal gathering and a book launch of ‘Cyclone Ada – A Community Remembers’ at the Reef Gateway Hotel, Cannonvale, at 3pm. The book contains about 100 stories from people who went through the cyclone.

The Cyclone Ada Memorial Committee is made up of people who experienced the trauma of the cyclone and feel that this important event in the region’s history should be recognised and recorded for future generations.

Secretary Kaye Cronan said the committee had been planning the service and memorial all year and had been working all through 2019 to track people down.

“Our committee members were all in Tropical Cyclone Ada, so we have all suffered trauma,” she said.

“Houses blew away and there was no counselling in those days, and because of the flooding people couldn’t get here to help.

“A lot of people had injuries – Proserpine was cut off by flood water, so people couldn’t get to hospital - the doctor had to be helicoptered to Airlie Beach every day to treat people. And you couldn’t drink the water – people had to be vaccinated against typhoid - it was complete chaos.”

Mrs Cronan said more than 100 people had already replied, and more were expected to come to the service, from all over Australia.

For more information please call Kaye Cronan on 4947 5890 or email cronankaye@gmail.com