Newcastle Herald readers have shared their memories of June 2007 this week in the lead up to today’s anniversary of the deadly storms. Here are some of them.
LENS ON THE LANDING
I happened to be working in Zaara Street when my wife rang to tell me that there was a ship in trouble off the Harbour. I always have a camera with me and walked (read: struggled in the conditions) around to the road above Nobby’s Surf Club. I arrived in time to see the Pasha Bulker arrive and to watch the crewmen being retrieved.
At the time my daughter lived in an apartment overlooking Newcastle Baths. She reckoned the Pasha was headed for her living room. It was a wonderful effort by those fellows in the Westpac Rescue Helicopter and the police who so quickly secured the area.
To get the ship off the beach was a magnificent result.
WHEN PARKS WERE LAKES
Being indoors all day I wasn’t aware of the drama unfolding till another resident in our apartment block told me that the driveway was flooded, with water starting to enter the foyers and garages. Soon it was knee-deep.
Next day the residents couldn’t start their cars. The street out front had become a river overflowing onto the footpaths and cascading down the driveway. At the end near Gregson Park the water was up to the thighs and flowing so strongly that staying upright was quite an effort.
The park had been turned into a lake. A man in a tree was calling for help as the water was too deep for him to come out.
Returning home I met another resident arriving with her brother and his family. Their home on the other side of the park had been flooded. The worst affected was their Labrador dog. He was quite traumatized.
IT’S ALWAYS LIKE THIS
I had just started work at Newcastle Port Corporation and the place went off on that day! I thought my colleague was pulling my leg when he said there's a ship on Nobbys Beach…
A BOND OF BRAVERY
Two neighbours in Hobart Road New Lambton, Brett Slaney and Brett Harley, went door to door rescuing our elderly neighbours and their pets. They met that night and became lifelong friends.
Despite both of our houses being ruined, these guys helped save many people's lives, including an elderly man trying to get home to his sick wife a few streets away. They also helped the SES when they arrived.
LOOKING OUT THE WINDOW
I was sitting in Nobbys car park watching the Pasha Bulker beach itself. I couldn't believe what I was seeing.
The wind was so bad that morning that the car was rocking so badly and getting smashed by sand.
I had only gone in for a drive with my nine-month-old as we had had a bad night the night before.
We sat and watched the whole thing until I was moved on by the police as the rescue chopper was landing. It was an amazing experience!
KOTARA CLOSE CALL
I had not long collected my five year old son from school. The storm had been raging most of the day but there was an eerie calm as the eye passed over.
As we were coming back through Kotara towards my mothers house the storm intensified again. Cars were floating by. I managed to navigate the foot of water on the road until we got to Vista Parade, near the storm water drain.
An SES volunteer was on hand; guiding us through. The car in front stalled leaving me no where to go. Within half a minute the water was climbing to the top of the car door. The SES guy waded through the freezing water and carried my son out through the window.
A minute later my car left the road and upended against the drain fence. If he hadn't been there we would have both gone down the drain.
GET BACK TO WORK
I was at work getting deliveries ready at a wine and beer store. Standing at the register, a few drops of rain.
Seconds later it’s pouring, customers are running into the store and the carpark and gutters are flooded. I shut the store doors – customers trapped, employees trapped, passers-by wanting to escape into store.
I ring management and [they say] keep working, no problem.
Customers and employees’ houses are going under water. People trapped in floating cars. Ring management: keep working, no problem. No electricity. Alarms going off.
Customers, passers-by and employees escape, shut doors, hit security buttons and race out into a metre of water on Darby Street. It takes one hour to get home, two kilometres way.
Next morning there’s damage everywhere, trees down. I ring management, and they ask why sales were down.
A WHIRLWIND CELEBRATION
That weekend we celebrated my dads 60th birthday. He is turning 70 this week, and we certainly remember this wet weekend.
The bowling club we held it at was the only place in Jesmond that had power for days.
TeAira Roimata Adams
Still never got to thank and talk to the bloke that helped me clutch start my car after I conked out at Jesmond roundabout. He crashed his work van next to me and i gave him a lift home. Cheers bloke.
NOTHING LIKE A BATHTUB
I was working at Merewether baths that day. The waves were breaking in slow motion due how big they were.
Sean Anthony Lennon
FORGET ME NOT
At least my husband has no excuse forgetting our wedding anniversary.. 10 years this weekend.
MOTHER AND CHILD MAROONED
About 6pm I tried to run a bath for my toddler, but the plug kept floating in the water. Heavily pregnant and with a broken ankle, I crutched over to the window to look down my driveway and see a river of water. No wonder the bath plug kept floating - the drains were full!
I quickly realised my predicament - it wasn'r great, but I we were dry - for now. My house was an island. I couldn't get out. So I bundled up as much as I could and shoved it high into the wardrobes in case we were flooded.
The next morning, as the waters rose up over the back steps and leeringly close to the floorboards, I called my husband, who was travelling back from the north coast.
He detoured to Nobbys Beach, and in a phonecall from there said "There's a ship on MY beach!"