Adaptation Lessons from Cyclone Tracy

Media type: 
Case Studies
Fact sheets
Author/s: 
Matthew Mason
Katharine Haynes
Institution/s: 
Natural Hazards Research Centre
Macquarie University
State: 
Northern Territory
Year: 
2010

This case study will review the impact of Tropical Cyclone Tracy on the city and people of Darwin, the Australian engineering and institutional responses that it invoked and the relevance of these lessons to a world threatened by global climate change.

At Christmas, 1974, Tropical Cyclone Tracy laid waste the city of Darwin, an iconic episode in the history of Australian natural disasters. It provides one of the clearest and most successful examples worldwide of adaptation to a catastrophe. Following large losses in Townsville from Tropical Cyclone Althea in 1971, the level of destruction in Darwin was such that it led to new regulations mandating the use of the wind code for reconstruction, and eventually to similar regulations for new construction in other cyclone-prone areas of Australia.

Please cite as:

Mason, M & Haynes, K 2010, Adaptation lessons from Cyclone Tracy, National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, Gold Coast, 82 pp. 

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