Project Title: The Bathurst Bay Hurricane: Media, Memory, and Disaster

Principal Advisor: Professor Clive Moore

Project Abstract: The Bathurst Bay hurricane of 1899, also called cyclone Mahina, is Australia’s deadliest cyclone and holds the world record for a storm surge (WMO, 2006). The main sources cited for these records are an anonymously authored booklet, The Pearling Disaster, 1899: A Memorial, (Anonymous, 1899), a study of that booklet by the Bureau of Meteorology, The Bathurst Bay Hurricane and Associated Storm Surge (Whittingham,1958), and a non-fiction narrative, Cyclone (Holthouse, 1971). An analysis of the evidence reveals a different story and theories of memory and narrative help explain how myths associated with this significant Australian disaster became accepted as historical fact.

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