Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Cyclone; Memories from the Past Show Just How Far Reaching the 1918 Cyclone Was

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Cyclone; Memories from the Past Show Just How Far Reaching the 1918 Cyclone Was

Article excerpt

I HAVE been reading with interest all the history of the 1918 cyclone that you have been publishing over the last little while.

An article about the Crompton family from Proserpine (DM 24/01/18) prompted my memory about the Cromptons who lived up in Finch Hatton Gorge during this period.

The following may be of interest.

If my memory serves me correctly, I was told by one of the old (late) Gorge residents, Val Uhr (nee Crompton), while compiling information for my book -- Memories of Finch Hatton Gorge The Last 100 Years -- that they were at a memorial service for Major Crompton at the Church of England in Finch Hatton when the cyclone struck.

Her story in the book reads:

"My brother was killed 24/12/14 in France, and my mother and my brother Albert went by horse-drawn sulky to Finch Hatton for his memorial service. It was the night of the 1918 cyclone.

"The roof was blown off the Church of England and they didn't think they would get home. The creeks were high and the trees were blowing down around them. They were only just able to get back home, up the top end of the Gorge, before the creeks came up."

The Major was killed in action during World War I. There is a photo of him in the RSL hall at Finch Hatton.

Also, there are a few lines in my book written by the late Bonnie Ward (nee Cunningham). These are her words:

"My sister Nellie was born up the Gorge, in our house. During the 1918 cyclone, when she was eight months old, our house went, with the exception of one room. Anyway, I grabbed the baby (Nellie) and got under the house. Everyone was trying to coax me out, so I came out and ran for my life, leaving Nellie face up in the pouring rain. Luckily we all survived."

Mary Angus (nee Cunningham) also wrote:

"In 1917 we purchased a cane farm in the Gorge from a Mr Billy Burnett. I can well remember the 1918 cyclone, whilst there, which destroyed all the buildings on the farm. How fortunate we were to escape with our lives.

"In cyclonic wind and rain, my father and uncles decided to make for our neighbour's home, who was a Mr Hollingsworth, who resided over a nearby creek. Putting our entire family into a dray or sulky, the men pulled the vehicle across the bridge of the flooded waters of the creek. …

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