Bureau of Meteorology, Cyclone Althea, Cyclone Leonta, Cyclone Sigma, Cyclone Yasi, George Saunders, Ross Creek, Saunders Beach Rural Fire Brigade, Thuringowa City Council, Toolakea Beach, Townsville City Council, Townsville Enterprise Ltd, Townsville Grammar, Volunteers
The 2016-17 cyclone season starts today, 1st November 2016 with the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology launching its cyclone warning service for 2016-17.
Since 2007 Saunders Beach has had a constant reminder of cyclones in the form of interpretive signage in Saunders Park, at the northern end of Reef Street.
Until 2008 Saunders Beach was in the local government area of Thuringowa City Council. In late 2007 officers from the Council invited interested community members to work with them on interpretive signage throughout the various Council areas.
The writer and a colleague accepted an invitation to be part of this exciting new feature for Saunders Beach. Meetings took place in late 2006 – early 2007 and issues discussed covered such topics as the need for an overall plan, consistency in sign design across the Council areas and maintenance costs.
Early on it was decided that the Saunders Beach sign would be about cyclones and would be placed in Saunders Park, also known locally as the Reef Street carpark.
In a colourful and dramatic way the sign illustrates different aspects of Saunders Beach’s involvement with cyclones in the area. The individual elements are discussed below:
CYCLONE GRAPHIC OF CYCLONE LARRY
On Sunday afternoon 19 March 2006 the residents of Saunders Beach were told by police and the local volunteer Fire Brigade to evacuate their homes. Larry crossed the coast near Innisfail on the morning of 20 March 2006. Saunders Beach residents returned home later that morning, fortunately to find no damage.
TOWNSVILLE ENTERPRISE LIMITED
Townsville Enterprise Ltd’s project The Great Tropical Drive coincided with Thuringowa City Council’s interpretive signage initiative and it was determined that the Saunders Beach cyclone sign would be an excellent fit.
The link www.GreatTropicalDrive.com.au is still active after nine years. Page 2 of this brochure:
The Great Tropical Drive is a self-drive route that will take you from Cairns or Townsville to some amazing places – less than a few hours away!
…Take the time to experience the entire Great Tropical Drive route or choose a shorter drive to suit: from easy one-day drives to week-long 4WD and campervan adventures.
Saunders Beach features as part of Route 1 – Great Tropical Drive, Route 2 – the Great Green Way and Route 12 – Paluma.
Clicking on the link For further visitor information on the local area reveals a heading Links In. The third choice Tourism Townsville North Queensland opens another glossy, informative run-down of Townsville’s attractions by Townsville Enterprise Ltd. www.townsvilleonline.com.au
TOWNSVILLE’S MAJOR CYCLONES
CYCLONE ALTHEA 24 DECEMBER 1971
The damage to the southern end of Reef Street is shown in heartbreaking detail in this Thuringowa City Council photo ID 4947.
CYCLONE YASI FEBRUARY 2011
One of the initial considerations for the interpretive signage working group was vandalism. Would the signs be prone to vandalism? What, if anything could be done to prevent it?
The ultimate natural vandalism occurred at the beginning of February 2011 when Cyclone Yasi crossed the Queensland coast at Mission Beach.
The Saunders Beach cyclone story sign withstood Yasi’s fury overnight on the 2nd – 3rd February 2011 and the tidal surge about 9am on the 3rd while other natural and man-made items suffered damage.
OTHER HAPPENINGS IN THE LIFE OF THE SAUNDERS BEACH CYLONE STORY SIGN
MORE PHOTOS OF THE SAUNDERS BEACH CYCLONE STORY SIGN?
As you may have noticed Saunders Beach History Project doesn’t have a single photo of the sign when it was new. Do you?
We’d love to hear from you if you have. Just comment below or email saundersbeachhistoryproject @ yahoo.com (To protect our address spaces are inserted either side of the @; please remove them when you email us. Thank you.)
The Commonwealth of Australian 2016, Bureau of Meteorology. Viewed 28 October 16. http://www.bom.gov.au/