Cyclone Tracy – The Diary of Ryan Turner, by Alan Tucker

The Big T actually showed his human side today and took us all fishing. He likes to take the boat out, not just so he can be Captain Bligh, but so he can relax. And when he relaxes, so can I. That’s why Mum always comes in the boat. She knows there’ll be no arguments.

Ryan loves fishing. Sometimes it seems that’s the only thing he and his dad have in common. Dad is the deputy principal at Ryan’s school in Darwin, which isn’t easy for Ryan. His Dad is a tyrant – at home and at school.

So when a group of hippies comes to town, Ryan knows his dad won’t approve. And when Ryan makes friends with one of them, he knows there will be trouble. But his problems with his dad are nothing compared to the challenges Ryan is about to face. It is 1974, and Cyclone Tracy is headed for Darwin.

Cyclone Tracy: the Diary of Ryan Turner is a diary style novel which gives a fictionalised account of events up to, during and after the devastation wrought by Cyclone Tracy on Christmas Eve, 1974. The narrator, fourteen year old Ryan, shares his perspective of life in Darwin prior to the event – fishing, school, going to the movies and so on – and after the cyclone gives his firs hand account of the horror of the cyclone. This is interweaved with the stories of Ryan’s family life, his friendships and his first girlfriend.

Part of the My Australian Story series, Cyclone Tracy is an absorbing read for 11 to 14 year old readers.

Cyclone Tracy: The Diary of Ryan Turner, by Alan Tucker
Scholastic, 2006