It’s been 100 years since our town was almost wiped from the map.
Thirty lives were lost when the 1918 cyclone ripped through our fledgling town on January 21, 1918. One family alone, the Welch family, lost six members.
The huge storm flattened much of the region and inundated large parts of the town, with waves up to three metres tall rolling down Sydney Street. 1,411mm of rain fell in three days.
To commemorate the centenary of this natural disaster, council is presenting an exhibition at the Jubilee Community Centre from Saturday, January 20, until Friday, February 16.
The exhibition is a joint initiative of our four regional museums and Mackay Regional Council Libraries.
The two-part exhibition contains a section titled ‘In the path of the storm’ which looks at what transpired in the days through eye-witness accounts, images and artefacts.
The exhibition then flows into a theatre space and second section titled ‘After the Storm’ that looks at the aftermath.
A short film will be playing in the theatre with the story of the cyclone told by local historians Bernice Wright and Terry Hayes as well as surviving members of the Welch family.
Council has also partnered with the Daily Mercury to produce a Centenary Book called 1918 Cyclone: The Aftermath. This will be available in the Daily Mercury on Saturday, January 20. Limited copies will also be available at the exhibition.
For those who want to delve further into 1918 Mackay, this website is a treasure trove of images, stories and interviews, some of which made it into the exhibition and some that didn’t. Feel free to explore through the links below.
Mackay Regional Council Library Service, receives financial assistance from the Queensland Government through State Library of Queensland.