Stock photo.
Stock photo.

OPINION: Who says it won't happen to us?

ON the night of February 19, three years ago, I was in Rocky, glued to the radio.

Cyclone Marcia was bearing down on the Capricorn Coast headed straight for Ogmore, where I knew two elderly people were also glued to the radio.

She'd been desperate to evacuate hours earlier, but he had refused to go.

The time to leave had passed and the couple had called their family to say their good-byes. There was nothing anybody could do.

Miraculously, the cyclone changed course and they were spared.

The next day, the impossible happened and the city of Rockhampton was hit by a Category 3 cyclone.

"They" said it would never happen, but I guess they were wrong.

Any talk of cyclones in Gladstone and the conversation is likely to turn to 1949 and the devastation of both Gladstone and Rockhampton on March 2.

Before the practice of naming cyclones was reintroduced, this one was just known as "the great cyclone".

Four people died, including Gladstone man Jacob Worthington, 300 people were left homeless, more than 60 houses lost their roofs and dozens of buildings were flattened.

I was living in northeast Victoria during the devastating heat that caused the Black Saturday fires in 2009.

There was that one day when everyone in the small town of Corryong huddled close to each other and to the radio, with an out-of-control bushfire coming our way.

We were always told to have a bushfire plan, but nobody did. That night, without being forecasted, the heavens opened up and rain spared the town from a fire that continued to smoulder for a month.

We think it won't happen to us, or it can't happen here, but those experiences showed me it can.

Christine McKee, Editor