FRIDAY 9 FEBRUARY HOME
Unpacked, washed, tidied away our stuff. Reckoned the only use I would have for my boots now, would be gardening!
The place seemed strange without a resident cat. We were missing Spook cat. M had to have him euthanized while we were away this time. We had been expecting that. He lived to a very old age, for a cat. She had buried him by the climbing roses, beside the pool.
It was a great relief to be home. John could sleep and rest, and try not to have the shingles get any worse. He had a bad dose of it.
The three of us started throwing around ideas for this year’s extended trip. I’d long had house sitters booked for five months – May to September….. M had not yet been to the Kimberley, so that seemed an obvious destination – more of WA!
A month later, on March 8, Category 4 Cyclone George caused major damage and destruction at RV1, two people died and a number of others were severely injured. One of the people killed was sheltering in the same donga we’d slept in, the previous month. Our manager friend was injured, but survived.
The winds were so strong that there was even some damage at RV 2, so much further south.
The resultant enquiries, inquests, law suits went on until 2015. They basically took two lines – why the damage was so severe, and why the camp had not been evacuated before the cyclone hit. (For anyone interested, assorted reports can be found via internet)
RV1 was rebuilt for the duration of the rail building project – but not by the company we’d worked for.
In mid-2007, we received a phone call from WorkSafe WA, about interviewing us as part of their enquiry into the disaster. We were travelling at the time, in the Kimberley, and said we would be back home in Melbourne, later in the year. We heard no more from them.
I could not help but think that this ancient and superb country had taken some revenge for its destruction by mining.
ANOTHER PILBARA POSTSCRIPT
Late last year, at RV1, when Fortescue shares on the Stock Exchange were only a few dollars, John wanted me to buy some of those shares. I did not take the opportunity, because I felt that so much money was being expended, in a way that seemed quite reckless. The image stuck had stuck in my mind of one day at RV1, when a plane was doing repeated low passes over the site. R said it was “just” Twiggy Forrest having a look at progress. I’d wondered what it had cost for him to do it that way?
So, I couldn’t have faith then in the iron ore mining venture actually making money. What did I know? It wasn’t long before those shares hit $80.
Win some, lose some…….