House debates

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Statements by Members

Natural Disasters

1:48 pm

Photo of Craig KellyCraig Kelly (Hughes, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

On this day, 4 March, 121 years ago, back in the year 1899, right in the middle of the Federation drought Australia experienced its worst-ever natural disaster when, around 11.00 pm in the evening, a Category 5 cyclone named Mahina smashed into Bathurst Bay in Queensland with winds reaching 260 kilometres per hour. This was Australia's deadliest cyclone in our recorded history. It claimed the lives of an estimated 410 people. Mahina ranks among the most intense cyclones ever observed in the Southern Hemisphere, and is almost certainly the most intense cyclone ever observed off the Eastern States of Australia. And in a 1899 a cyclone also caused the largest storm surge on record, when a 13-metre storm surge at Ninian Bay, adjacent to Barrow Point, extended inland for three to five kilometres. As evidence of the cyclone's power, at Flinders Island researchers found 13 dead porpoises 50 feet up a cliff, hurled there by the wind and waves.

It's important that these historical events are remembered and taught in our schools, so today's generation can appreciate the hardships and struggles endured by previous generations, and also so they can put into context how much safer we are today.

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