The Pearling Disaster, 1899: A Memorial, Map insert, p14.
With a central pressure of 27 inches (914mb) compared with Yasi’s 930mb, Mahina was even more intense than her modern cousin. Moreover the cyclone generated a combined storm surge and “wave run-up” of at least 13 metres, spreading 5km inland and causing many of the Aboriginal deaths. A police constable at Barrow Point, 30 km to the south, found himself and his Aboriginal troopers in waist-deep water despite being camped on a ridge 12 metres above sea level.
Mahina destroyed several pearling fleets, operating out of Thursday Island, which had taken last minute shelter in Bathurst Bay, only to find this was in Mahina’s direct path. Of more than 320 souls lost from the pearling fleets the vast majority were from the Pacific or Torres Strait Islands, Japan or South-East Asia. Most of the Aboriginal deaths occurred on land, or indeed as they desperately tried to rescue the stricken pearlers. Only 12 European deaths were recorded.
|The Pearling Disaster, 1899: A Memorial, p29.|
Caption: Captain W. F. Porter of Crest of the Wave.
Mr. Arthur Outridge (Father of Harold Outridge) in Diving Dress
Story by Miniata