By Myles Sinnamon, Project Coordinator, State Library of Queensland | 15 April 2014
On March 16, 1911, a cyclone devastated the small Far North Queensland community of Port Douglas, 70km north of Cairns, razing many of its buildings.
During the storm, many of the townspeople took refuge at the government bond store, which was described as "a substantial building", though it was no match for the full force of the cyclone. By extraordinary chance, the 40-odd people sheltering there managed to escape before the building collapsed.
Councillor Andrew Jack was killed when a "stack of timbers" fell on him at his farm near Port Douglas, where he resided with his wife and children.
A second fatality was 30-year-old Timothy Joseph O'Brien, who was helping his mother and sister find shelter when struck by a "mass of wood and iron", which dislocated his neck and fractured his skull. There were also tales of heroism. A Mr Twine, manager of the Queensland National Bank, risked his life to save others during the storm by bringing them back to shelter.
With more than 100 people left homeless, many camped out at the damaged Masonic Hall or at one of the houses left standing. The photograph above shows the extent of the damage.
Telegraphic communication was disrupted with 30 poles blown down within 11km of the town. The nearby settlement of Mossman was also affected by the cyclone.
Myles Sinnamon - Project Coordinator, State Library of Queensland
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