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Cyclone Tracy: What we remember and what we’d rather forget

Sophie Cunningham

Sophie Cunningham (Image supplied)

Sophie Cunningham delivered the 2014 Thea Astley Lecture at the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival and spoke about what it’s like to be a part of a highly traumatic event and the way we remember it later on.

Cunningham began the lecture saying how, for her, a single image can force such strong emotions out of a person.

“Images often begin books for me,” she said.

Cunningham said an image is what started her book on Cyclone Tracy.

“It was image to do with Tracy hitting at Christmas [in 1974] and all those kids missing out on their toys, which seems a trivial concern, but it was very upsetting to me,” she said.

Warning: The Story of Cyclone Tracy, released in time for the fortieth anniversary of Tracy’s devastation of Darwin, tells the stories of people it affected.

Cunningham’s lecture was insightful and forced me to really think about how we choose to remember the things we would rather bury and forget.

In close, Cunningham said: “We must tell stories, and tell the right ones and make sure we don’t forget.”

Sophie Sambrook is a Southern Cross University Media student.

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