Rock and Tempest: Surviving Cyclone Tracy and its Aftermath by Patricia Collins ISBN:9780733650239

Rock and Tempest by Patricia Collins

$35.00 Inc GST

When Cyclone Tracy flattened Darwin on Christmas Day 1974, it was the worst natural disaster Australians had ever experienced. Stationed in the city with the Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service, Patricia Collins not only lived through Tracy but was part of the massive clean-up effort. This is her extraordinary story.

The experience of living through a terrifying natural disaster is chillingly told by Collins as she recounts her own dark hours that Christmas along with those of her contemporaries. They sat huddled in doorways and bathtubs as the winds raged, lifting off roofs, picking up cars and sinking ships. Most of the city was destroyed. Seventy-one people died.

The Navy suffered terrible losses. A Navy patrol boat was sunk with the loss of two crewmen and another patrol boat was driven onto rocks. A sailor lost his wife and two children, and another lost his young son.

In the days after Tracy, the majority of Darwin’s population was evacuated interstate just as the Navy’s Task Force arrived to clean up and rebuild. Collins was there as a survivor of Tracy and now an integral part of the recovery.

In Rock and Tempest, she has gathered extraordinary first-person accounts of terror and uncertainty as well as courage and survival. The cyclone’s devastating aftermath tested the mettle of many.

It is arguable that the template for Australians’ responses to the ongoing natural disasters of the past few years was made in Darwin in 1974. We look for answers and stories to help us deal with those natural disasters and manage them better next time. Those answers and stories are in Rock and Tempest.

Patricia Collins joined the Navy to serve in a time of peace, but Rock and Tempestis a testament to the courage and resolve needed by members of the Defence Force at any time. It is fascinating and moving, and absolutely essential reading.

About the Author: Patricia Collins was a Wran (the women’s branch of the RAN) stationed in Darwin at the time of Cyclone Tracy. She wrote a brief account of her experiences during Tracy and the clean-up for her son when he was a teenager and interested in what had happened. The essay was submitted by a third party to the editor of the magazine Australian Warship and was subsequently published with her permission in Issue 24 in 2005. Patricia then turned it into a book and brought in experiences from many of those she served with during that time. Rock and Tempest is her first book.

26 Jun 2024

Additional information


Paperback / softback


True stories

Readership Level

General (US: Trade)



Publication Date

26 Jun 2024

Rock and Tempest: Surviving Cyclone Tracy and its Aftermath by Patricia Collins ISBN 9780733650239

6 in stock

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