Cyclone Tracy’s destruction of Darwin

25 Dec 1974

After Darwin was devastated by Cyclone Tracy on Christmas Eve of 1974, the RAAF led the effort to go to the city’s relief. Although the RAAF Base had not been spared in the destruction, as soon as the storm abated its personnel immediately set to work clearing debris from runways to allow limited operations to be restored. The first aircraft to use the airfield was a RAAF Dakota which had been flown south the previous day to escape the cyclone. Meanwhile, a C-130 Hercules configured for medical evacuation had been dispatched from Richmond, NSW, during the mid-afternoon. After diverting to Mount Isa, Queensland, to collect an official party that had got that far by RAAF BAC-111, the flight reached Darwin at 10 pm and landed on the runway marked only by flares ‘under extremely marginal conditions using the aircraft’s radar’

Related base

  • RAAF Base Darwin

Related aircraft

  • Hercules
  • Dakota