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11 April 1948 Gale

 11 April 1948   Gale

In the early hours of Sunday 11 April 1948 an 81 mph gale tore through Adelaide unroofing houses, uprooting trees and generally causing widespread damage. It was reported to be the heaviest storm in living memory with some 72mm of rain falling. All along the coast boats were wrecked, with hardly a fishing boat or pleasure craft left afloat. Two ketches were wrecked at Outer Harbour, a big freighter was torn from its moorings in the Port River and badly damaged, while large sections of the Brighton and Glenelg jetties were swept away. One man was stranded at the end of the Glenelg jetty when the mid-section collapsed into the raging sea. He had to remain there until the seas abated and was finally rescued on Monday.

The most dramatic incident was the beaching of the HMAS Barcoo, a survey frigate of 1420 tons, which dragged its anchors and was driven ashore just north of Glenelg. She was refloated some days later. After several unsuccessful attempts to tow her off, she managed to manoeuvre into deep water at high tide under her own power and was taken into tow by HMAS Warrigo. 

It was reported in the Advertiser a few days later that as the Barcoo was being pushed relentlessly towards the beach a woman ran out from a shack, carrying a hurricane lamp, and shouting to the crew standing helplessly at the bow of the ship: 'You can't come any further, it's all land here'. Perhaps they didn't hear her.

Advertiser,12 April 1948.
H.M. Cooper, A Naval History of South Australia, Adelaide, 1950, p. 120.

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