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Kim Tyrer
 
5 June 2014 | Stories | Kim Tyrer

Bushfires Cyclone and One Man's Dream

In 1978 Cyclone Alby hit the great southern in March 1978. Considered one of the biggest most devastating Cyclones in WA history. Linda remembers it well.
It was also the first year my Parents Ian and Linda Tyrer first arrived in WA in Mount Barker to set up their vineyard. They gave up their high profile jobs and made the tree change to country WA and invest in their future a vineyard. The idea was that living in Country WA was the best place in the world to bring up a family. In 1978 I was also born in Feb.

Linda and Ian were selling hay, a man was down at the sheds loading hay. He came up to the house and asked to pay Linda. Linda asked why he hadn't just paid Ian while they were down the shed. He explained that Ian had gone off to fight the bush fires.
"Bush Fires! What bushfires?" The man pointed to the horizon where the sky was a wall of red. "Everyone was burning off before the cyclone came." the man explained.
" What? What Cyclone?" Linda Panicked again.

Later Linda asked Ian why he hadn't told her about the bush fires and the cyclones. " I didn't want to worry you?" He replied.

Meanwhile back at the ranch I was put under the table and Ian went out to fight the bush fires the cyclone had caused. Linda was very nervous at home waiting. People were calling her on the phone trying to find loved ones out fighting the fires concerned for their welfare. One man was worried about his father who was pushing trees out on our property so we could plant a vineyard. His father had not returned and he was concerned that he might be injured. Linda pleaded that she could not go out and look for him as I was only 4 months old. After another 20 minutes passed he rang again. So Linda jumped in the Ute and drove down to the front paddock to look for him. She could not see more than 2 metres in front of the ute. The dust, wind and smoke was severe. While driving along the wind pushed a tree right over in front of the Ute and she drove around it continuing to look for the man. Then in the distance Linda saw our Border Collie, Bonnie. Linda knew that if Bonnie was there then Ian was not far behind. Ian been separated from the group and lost his sight with all the smoke. Ian was holding the fence wire and was using it to guide him home. Linda picked him up in the Ute and their dog and went home. The other guy was fine and returned home safely. It just took him a long time with all the trees on the road.

Eventually the cyclone passed. The next day, Linda and Ian Jumped in the Ute to inspect the damage on the property. Ironically the cyclone had knocked over more trees than the guy they paid to push trees out!

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