RAAF Base Tindal personnel have worked tirelessly to help provide shelter to hundreds of evacuees pouring into the Katherine Showgrounds ahead of Tropical Cyclone Trevor.
Royal Australian Air Force personnel began setting up tents on 21 March with reinforcements from the 5th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (5RAR) the following day.
Senior Australian Defence Force Officer for RAAF Base Tindal, Wing Commander Timothy Ferrell, said that his team jumped into action to prepare for the arrival of evacuees.
“Yesterday evening personnel from RAAF Base Tindal assisted the Katherine community in putting up about 25 tents and accommodation for about 100 personnel,” Wing Commander Ferrell said.
“They finished at about 12.30am last night, and we are back again this afternoon with personnel from 5RAR assisting with putting another 200 beds up.
“RAAF Base Tindal is a key part of the Katherine community – we make up about 25% of the population here and for us to do this for our community is very rewarding.”
Borroloola evacuee, Mr Keith Rory said that residents had cause for concern, having learnt from the infamous 1974 Cyclone Tracy just how devastating a cyclone can be.
“I’m from Borroloola, from the Garawa Clan group. I’ve been living there for nearly all my life,” Mr Rory said.
“As soon as we heard about the cyclone was going to develop, we got the police force coming around – ‘Start getting your gear and whoever wants to fly-up, come to the police station and get your tag ready so you can jump on the plane’ – so we drove away yesterday afternoon at 4pm.
“Really scary this one,” he said worriedly.
Mr Rory said that he appreciated the help they were receiving from the uniformed members building the emergency shelter tents behind him.
“Army and Air Force and NORFORCE all working together – it’s really good,” Mr Rory said.
“Make sure you stand strong…you gotta.”
Before bedding down for the night at the Katherine evacuation centre, Mr Rory paid his respects to all the traditional owners of the Katherine region, past and present.