WRECKED: Local historian Ray Blackwood with the motor and gearbox of the Queensland Government vessel Curtis which was wrecked on the south-west corner of North Molle Island.
WRECKED: Local historian Ray Blackwood with the motor and gearbox of the Queensland Government vessel Curtis which was wrecked on the south-west corner of North Molle Island. Contributed

Survivors assemble

"IT WAS a horrendous night of terror; the seas were so furious and the wind was like super-sonic sound."

Cyclone Ada in January 1970 was a difficult time in our region's history, but few suffered more than the Marine Crew.

On Saturday, survivors of the category four cyclone will come together at the Reef Gateway Hotel, where a booklet of personal stories by Marine Crew members will be launched.

"Of the 14 deaths in the area, 12 of those were at sea," organiser Gloria DeMartini said.

"One boat lost seven and it's never been seen to this day.

"A husband, wife, three little children, the deckhand and the skipper."

The Marine Crew were skippers, deckhands and engineers who were sent to sea when the cyclone was detected.

"And unfortunately Cyclone Ada turned into a category 4 cyclone within hours," Ms DeMartini said. "A lot of the crew were drowned."

Ms DeMartini said the weekend's reunion would be a rare meeting 46 years in the making.

"There's one gentleman coming who will be 90 and there are two in their late 80s," she said.

"It's very important I think that they meet together.

"It's been a story that they don't normally talk about because it was very terrifying."

The booklet will include 34 first-hand accounts over about 80 pages.

Booklets cost $15 each.

 

LOOKING BACK

What: Cyclone Ada reunion and Marine Crew booklet launch

Where: Reef Gateway Hotel

When: Saturday from 1pm

Cost: $5 per person

Contact: Gloria DeMartini 0499 700 790 or Shaun Mountney 0407 754 242