Around 70 people gathered in Mission Beach on Wednesday 25 July for the inaugural viewing of Terrain NRM’s new documentary “Living in Cyclone Country”, funded through the Queensland Government’s Rural Resilience Package.
The event was hosted by Terrain Director Keith Noble, with the Queensland Government Minister for Natural Resource and Mines, the Honourable Andrew Cripps MP officially launching the documentary.
“Living in Cyclone Country” captures the experiences and stories of a wide range of community members who endured Cyclone Yasi in February 2011 and also documents the impact of the cyclone on the natural environment.
Minister Cripps, who was born and raised in Tully, said “many of the local people here have extensive experience with cyclones. However, none of us had ever experienced anything like Cyclone Yasi.”
The overwhelming response from the audience – which was made up of film contributors, government, council and industry representatives, and active local community members – was that the documentary not only presents heartfelt messages relevant to all communities that are vulnerable to such events, but also celebrates the strength and resilience of the community affected by Yasi.
Cassowary Coast Regional Council Mayor Bill Shannon, who also attended the launch, found it an emotional experience to revisit his home area, as it was immediately following the cyclone, through this film.
“When the movie finished there was a slight delay before people clapped. I could hear in the silence that people were still confronted or overwhelmed by some of it,” said Mayor Shannon.
“That’s saying that the movie really got the nature of the event because you could actually see that it hit people, eighteen months later, so hard.”
“It’s very, very important that this film doesn’t gather dust,” he said. “It is an important historical record for our region, and its value will be in showing it in areas to the north and south which are also in the cyclone belt.”
Minister Cripps shared Mayor Shannon’s view, saying “we need to update and remind people about what they’ve been through and not to be complacent.”
“We know how to do the basics but each event will be different. And as much as we can possibly do, we need to prepare people for these types of extreme natural disasters. We never know when they’re going to occur or how severe they are going to be,” he said.
The “Living in Cyclone Country” documentary is part of Terrain’s broader Lessons from Yasi program, which has brought together the experiences and learnings from hundreds of people, with a focus on how to improve the management of the natural environment, not only after events such as Yasi, but also during calm periods.
“Community input into Terrain’s Lessons from Yasi program has highlighted the value that people place on the unique natural environment of the Wet Tropics, and emphasises the importance of making sure we do all we can to give it a helping hand,” said Terrain’s CEO Carole Sweatman.
The “Living in Cyclone Country” documentary will be broadly distributed throughout the Far North Queensland region as well as other cyclone-prone areas of Australia and can be accessed through Terrain’s website www.terrain.org.au.
Free copies of the documentary are available by contacting Terrain on (07) 4043 8000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.