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WINDS REACH 89 MILES AN HOUR

TOWNSVILLE STRUCK BY

CORE OF CYCLONE

TOWNSVILLE, March 6. — Cyclone Agnes wreaked a trail of havoc when its hurricane-force winds swept through Townsville and district to- day in one of the worst disturbances of its kind in North Queensland.

The damage mounted hourly as violent winds bat- tered homes and other buildings. By tonight it was estimated at several thousands of pounds.

TOWNSVILLE was an iso-

laed city today. Com- munications to the south and west by road, rail and air were severed and there was

only one emergency telephone line to Brisbane operating.

The city and the entire district, fed from the Towns- ville Regional Electricity Board generating station, was without electricity as trans- mission lines were wrenched from poles forcing a complete close-down of industry. CHANGED COURSE

The cyclone suddenly changed course in the early hours of this morning, buf- feting Mackay and moving along the coast to lash Bowen and Ayr, where extensive damage was caused.

Roaring winds of hurricane force thrashed Townsville from early this morning and continued with increasing fury throughout the day.

The biggest threat to the city came at 2.30 p.m., when winds reached a

maximum velocity of 89 miles an hour and the barometer dropped to   28.30 in.—one and a half   inches below normal.

At 2 o'clock conditions were comparatively calm,   when the 20-mile-wide core passed over. But the city was again whipped shortly after by south-easterlies which followed the main body of Agnes.

By 5 o'clock Weather Bureau officials at Garbutt said the cyclone was moving steadily away in a west- north-west direction but they emphasised that it was not certain whether the city had seen the last of the cyclone.

Blinding sheets of rain ac- companied the fierce gale and caused minor flooding in

low-lying areas of the city. Further storms are expected. 'DROME BATTERED

The worst hit area of Townsvflle was Garbutt aero- drome, which received the full fury of the tempest, cut- ting an incredible path of destruction.  

A galvanised iron hangar, housing two RAAF Lincoln bombers, collapsed showering the aircraft with iron and timber.

One Lincoln was wrecked and left buried under the pile of wreckage. The second was badly dam- aged, with part of a wing torn off and gaping holes cut in the body. Sheets of iron were tossed across   the field for 250 yards.

Fierce gusts of wind pre- vented RAAF officials from approaching the remains of the hangar to inspect the damage.

A Lincoln bomber is valued at £100,000.

Three other hangars were extensively damaged, with their roofs hurled off and sides flattened. One contained a commercial airline aircraft.

Only a few sheets of iron were left on the roof and part of the side was torn away. Five concrete blocks had to be   attached to the plane to pre- vent its being carried off. DAMAGE "FANTASTIC"

The Department of Civil Aviation's administrative of- ficer (Mr F. E. Gregory) de- scribed the damage as fan- tastic.

Almost all D.C.A. buildings were affected. The Aero Club building was unroofed and sheets of iron were ripped from a workshop. The aeradio mast near the meteorological station office was brought to the ground.

Tarmacs were strewn with broken timber and sheets of iron were tossed around like paper during the height of the

cyclone.

As the cyclone raged through the city and sub- urbs, many houses and buildings were destroyed and others badly damaged. Huge trees were uprooted, some crashing against fences and homes. Torn branches were scattered by the winds.

In the city, a large corru- gated iron building in Ogden Street was left in a tangled heap of iron and timber after the cyclone had passed. Sheets of tin were strewn across the street.

A storehouse next to the   Queensland Insurance building in Flinders Street East, was

HURRICANE NEAR FIJI

SUVA, March 6. — The  

Weather Bureau has issued a hurricane warn- ing for the whole Fiji Is- land group as a tropical storm approaches from the New Hebrides.

Weather officials said the storm was within 100 miles of Nandi.

shattered. The sides of the building were torn out, making a path for the howling winds. Sheets of iron were tossed into Ross River, which flows at the rear of the building.

DAMAGE TO COLLEGE

The Christian Brothers' College, on Stanton Hill, was severely battered. The roof was lifted from the science labora- tory, but although rain poured into the room, there was little damage to the valuable equip- ment. The lunch pavilion was

sent crashing down 100 ft from  

the hill and sheets of iron were carried hundreds of feet. Some came to rest on the structure of the new nurses' quarters at the rear of the General Hos- pital.

The school's "tuck shop" was   destroyed and glass in class- rooms was shattered.

Damage estimated at over

£1000 was caused to a furniture   factory in Hugh Street, West End, owned by Mr V. McLean. The roof of the shop was car- ried off in one piece and car- ried 70 ft. into the yard of a

house.

AT CHARTERS TOWERS  

The State High School at Charters Towers was unroofed and other city buildings were badly damaged today as winds reaching 60 miles an hour gave the city its worst cyclone scare on record. Accompan- ied by squalls of heavy rain, the winds tore their way through iron in all directions for hundreds of yards.

Sixty-three sheets of iron were torn from the school building at 8.30 a.m. Studies were brought to an abrupt   halt and all children were

sent home.

The gallery roof of the open air Olympia Theatre in Gill Street was lifted from its bear- ings and sheets of iron were scattered in all directions. Damage to the theatre centred mainly on the gallery stretch of roofing, but one complete rafter section was eventually found entangled among wooden seating on the ground floor.  

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