The Awesome Might of Nature

 Gracetown is a hillside, coastal town with panoramic ocean views. The town is located on Cowaramup Bay which faces north, bringing shelter from the strong winds of summer, and making it popular with holidaymakers and surfers.

The day Carroll and Jack took us for a drive through the area the weather god was shining down on us.

The surf was pumping.

Surf's up

Surf’s up

Will he catch it?

Can you see him as he frantically paddles. Will he catch it?



It takes the brave to challenge and ride these waves.

It takes the brave to challenge and ride these waves.

But Gracetown has a tragic story in its past. On a day like today, fine and sunny, in September 1996. It was the last day of the school term and Cowaramup and Margaret River Primary schools were enjoying a day of friendly surfing rivalry. Watching the final heat children, parents and teachers were sitting on the beach under the cliff overlooking the Huzzas surf break.

drive with jack  carroll pc 015

Without any warning at around 6pm more than 2000 tonnes of rock and earth collapsed on them. The horror of that moment will be forever remembered at this spot.

Onlookers dug desperately to save those buried. As news of the tragedy spread they were soon joined by rescue workers, friends and relatives.

Two excavator drivers came to assist the frantic rescue efforts. One risked his life manoeuvring his machine over then down the cliff.  

One 10-year-old girl  was freed from the rubble 2 hours later and survived.

Sadly 5 adults and 4 children were killed.

A beautiful memorial stands on the top of the cliff were the collapse happened.

A beautiful memorial stands on the top of the cliff were the collapse happened.

drive with jack  carroll pc 009


drive with jack  carroll pc 008

For my friend Carroll this place is deep in memories as she was working at the Margaret River Primary as secretary and receptionist and was in the front line of the out pouring of grief.

Life can be so unpredictable, so my friends out in the blogosphere, count your blessings, give your loved ones a hug, and appreciate every moment.

Categories: Australia, Gracetown, Margaret River, Western Australia | Tags: , , , , | 26 Comments

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26 thoughts on “The Awesome Might of Nature

  1. Your camera saw those surfers better than my eyes.
    Thanks for capturing them and the memories of another day shared with you.


    • Digital cameras with a good zoom can produce good shots and of course with a bit of cropping help from Photoshop.


  2. What a beautiful place tinged with such sadness… swallowing a lump in my throat…


  3. pattisj

    It’s doubly sad when it should be such a happy occasion. You offer good advice, we don’t know how long we have together.


  4. What a terrible tragedy in such a beautiful spot, Pauline. Your photos are lovely, and you really captured that surfer perfectly. You’re so right about counting our blessings. 🙂


  5. This was an horrific event, Pauline and so very sad for the families, the community and the nation. This is a lovely tribute xxxx

    That beach looks awesome (from an old surfer chicks point of view) 😉


  6. poppytump

    Your blog post title says it all Pauline . What tragedy . Yes carpe diem if at all possible . x


  7. Well put, Pommepal…life is indeed unpredictable.


  8. Such a sad story Pommepal and an excellent reminder about what matters most in life: today, and the people we love and who love us back.

    Life is a gift isn’t it.

    We had a very loved priest here for many years who said, every Lent, and every funeral, and any other occasion he had a mind to say it, in his rich lilting Irish accent: We know neither the hour nor the day. Typing those words don’t convey the way he said them, which was with love and sorrow, never fear.

    I think he was teaching us how important it is to “Be all that you dream”.


  9. flyingfeet2anywhere

    Wow! cool! haha how I wish I can do that, I can’t even swim.. but I’m planning to get swimming lessons.


  10. you are so right.. we never know what might happen, and we should always cherish our time with our loved ones. z


  11. The surf is rockin dudette!!! I grew up in La Jolla a surf town~


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