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West Australians rally to help af tei
When an earthquake hit the little
Western Australian town of Cadoux there was not one
property within a 12km radius that was left undamaged.
"lt was a miracle that no one was killed," said farmer Tony Kalajzic, still stunned by the enormity of the disaster. He was outside the house when the earth started shuddering, to a deafen- ing, thunderous roar. Twice he was knocked to the ground, and he looked up horrified to see his house collapse like a pack of cards.
"My wife Stephanie was in there, with a friend and three children," he said, "lt seemed impossible that they could escape alive from underneath all that rubble. Then we heard the children calling, and we rushed to get them out.
lt took us an hour, but incredibly, the only serious injury was a broken arm to eight-year-old Bradley Allen."
A few kilometres away on the next farm, Eric and Maureen Cumming had an equally remarkable escape from tragedy. With their children, Sharon, 8, Philip, 10, and farmhand Steve Moore they were inside their newly renovated farmhouse when the earth heaved along a fault right underneath.
"The walls of the house exploded all around us," said Eric. "How on earth we got out I don't know. There was so much noise that I couldn't hear my own voice. I've never heard anything so loud. I could see bricks falling around me, dust everywhere, and the lights were going on and off like a neon sign.
"Bricks were blocking the door to the
lounge-room but somehow I pushed it open. I didn't know what I would find. The doors and windows were tumbling in and there were a couple of terrified kids staggering through the dust."
These two farmhouses suffered the
most spectacular damage during the quake, but no one escaped unscathed. Gaping cracks opened up in the walls of many homes and supporting posts
shifted on their foundations.
Inside every house, cupboards swayed and toppled over, shelves leaned, refrigerators sprang open and sent the contents flying. "Everything in the shop ended up on the floor," said Doreen Wright, who runs the hardware store and general agency.
The centre of Cadoux looked like a battlefield and, with all three of its main
TOP: Betty Pulling outside her wrecked store: "We lost everything, but we'll stay."
ABOVE: Chris Kalajzic, 22, covers up the piano in the wreckage oí his home.
ABOVE LEFT: The community hall, the heart of the town, wrecked in the disaster.
LEFT: Children check the depth of cracks in the road.
Pictures by Ken Hotchkin.
community buildings wrecked, the town had lost its heart. The Masonic Hall had been reduced to rubble and the com- munity hall and the sports pavilion had been damaged beyond repair.
The tremendous force of the earth- quake lifted an enormous nine million litre water tank off its base and dropped it down 20cm off centre, so that all the water drained away - the main supply for several towns in the district.
At the Cadoux general store, half the building ended in ruins while the owners, Jim and Betty Pulling, huddled terrified inside. Amazingly, neither was injured. Next day people from kilometres around descended on the shattered store with willing hands to sort out the mess and clear away the rubble.
lt was the same story all over the
district, with warm and ready community help wherever it was needed. People turned up with caravans to lend to those who had lost their homes, an electrician on holiday went around making power lines safe and connecting up new lines.
The day after the major quake, while minor rumblings continued to shake up the edgy community, Doreen Wright's agency was the centre of activity as the men worked on wrecked buildings.
Cadoux, 200km north east of Perth, is in an earthquake zone that runs through the south-west of WA. The last major earthquake in the zone in October, 1968, flattened the town of Meckering.
But it seems that it takes more than an earthquake to shake the spirit of the people of Cadoux.
- MARGOT LANG