On Friday, September 13, 1985, the Port Macquarie News headlined its page 1 lead: "TWISTER HITS". Hit it did.
The redoubtable David Burrows was the author, and this was Chad Payne's is photo.
The front page read:
A wild twister which lashed western sections of Port Macquarie on Wednesday afternoon hurled a builder from a roof, then carved a pathway of damage estimated at over a million dollar.
* At the height of the mini-tornado which swept along Hastings River Drive from the airport:A woman was trapped inside her home in Kemp Street as sections of the tile roof disintegrated.
* Another woman was flung to the ceiling of her caravan in the yard of a Hastings River Drive home as the full fury of the storm grabbed the van and turned it upside down.
* New cars in car lots in Hastings River Drive were grabbed by the powerful wind, lifted off their wheel and dumped on top of nearby vehicles.
* Storage building walls collapsed and roofing iron flew through the air littering the roadway and tangling in powerlines.
Hail and driving wind accompanied Wednesday afternoon's storm which hit without warning at 2.10pm.
A violent wind gust lifted Glen Newham from the roof of a building at Port Macquarie airport where he was working and pitched him more than 20 metres away, where workmates found him unconscious.
Wild twister damage set at $3m
THE twister which hit Port Macquarie last Wednesday caused damage now officially estimated at $3 million in the space of less than 30 minutes.
Port Macquarie loss assessor, Mr John Dick, confirmed the figure of $3m yesterday and said that some of the claims were still coming in.
Loss of profit figures for some businesses still had to be assessed, he said.
Mr Dick said it was remarkable that $3m worth of damage could be caused in such a small area.
"Only about 30 to 40 buildings and premises were affected," he said.
The major claims to be met will be from car dealers in the Hastings River Drive-Bellbowrie Park area.
These are Bellbowrie Motors, Port Macquarie Mitsubishi and John Oxley Motors.
Last year's Boxing Day hail storm which swept through most parts of Port Macquarie causing general damage resulted in claims totalling $18 million.
Last Wednesday's twister hurled a builder from the roof, then carved a pathway of havoc.
In Hastings River Drive and adjacent areas chaotic scenes developed as the storm swept east.
Debris littered the roadway, branches were shorn from trees and plunged through rooftops and windows shattered in buildings and homes.
The twister wrenched walls from a brick building, tore down hoardings and buckled street signs as it ploughed through the built-up area.
Miraculously no further injuries were reported as branches reefed from trees tumbled onto the roadway.
The interior of some homes hit by the storm looked as if a bomb had exploded.
Shattered tiles littered the floors, broken cutlery thrown from cupboards lay in piles. Outside, debris covered lawns already sealed with a coat of hail.
Traffic in Hastings River Drive halted as an aluminium boat blew across the road and into the side of a passing mini-van driven by a woman.
In the Bellbowrie Park area a brick wall collapsed on top of an uninsured sedan.
Glen Newham, the only victim of the freak storm, is still in a coma at Sydney's Royal North Shore Hospital.
Mr Newham was swept off the roof of a shed at Port Macquarie Airport and suffered multiple fractures and suspected skull injuries.
He was later transferred to Royal North Shore and was reported to still be unconscious by family members yesterday.
Miss Belinda Newham told the News that her brother was in a light coma and was beginning to respond to the people around him.