After The Storm
2018 marked 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 presented an exhibition at the Jubilee Community Centre from Saturday, January 20, until Friday, February 16, 2018.
The exhibition was a joint initiative of our four regional museums and Mackay Regional Council Libraries. The first part of the exhibit produced by the regional museums was titled ‘In the path of the storm’ which explored what transpired in the days through eye-witness accounts, images and artefacts.
The second exhibit titled ‘After the Storm’ provided a pictorial story of the aftermath, presented on large wall panels featuring over 120 themed images. A moving digital short film was also produced 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 also partnered with the Daily Mercury to produce a Centenary Book called 1918 Cyclone: The Aftermath.
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.
1918 cyclone story
Mackay Regional Council Library Service, receives financial assistance from the Queensland Government through State Library of Queensland.