Can you believe it’s been 15 years since the Pacha Bulker ended up on Nobby Beach?
Images of the coal ship made headlines around the world and the savage weather that caused the incident will be forever remembered as Storm Pasha Bulker.
Yesterday we asked everyone on Facebook to share their memories of that day. Below are some of the responses we received.
Emily: I was taking part in the Band Association NSW National Championships at the town hall, then went to see the boat when finished.
Adrian: Working in an office in Newcastle East and literally watching the boat arrive on Nobbys beach through the window as our boss ‘tried’ to get us back to work… 15 years ago… wow!!
Jodie: Trying to fly from Newcastle to Brisbane and we couldn’t board because they couldn’t keep the stairs in place to get passengers down.
Therese: Omg 15yrs… Time flies ..life is like a toilet getting closer to the end the faster it goes.
Renee: I was in John Hunter Hospital with my 4 week old baby who had had brain surgery, I had no idea what the storm was happening apart from the destruction it was causing until I get a phone call from home to say it was raining in my living room like a tree had come through the roof. Staff and visitors all talked about the Pacha Bulka. Me, “the pasha what? I had no idea what they were talking about until the following week when I went for a drive and saw it for myself.
Lucas: Arriving from Sydney at 5:00 p.m. by train on Friday afternoon. The trip would usually be 2 1/2 hours. The train derailed slightly near Gosford so had to take a bus to Newcastle. The bus would only take us to Warners Bay McDonalds due to the flooding being so bad that we had to walk from there to Cardiff through waist deep water with cars floating around. Finally arrived at Main Rd Cardiff around midnight. Was freezing and not a night I will ever forget.
jessica: Wow Cameron, that was one of our first dates, wasn’t it? A trip to see Pasha Baulker on the beach 😆
Diana: One of the worst storms I have experienced. A street away from my house, I saw the whole roof of a house take off and land several streets away. Flooding has been terrible in and around Newcastle.
beautiful: My dad rode through this storm on his yacht at Newcastle Marina, it was an intense night for the yachting community.
Jason: It was a tough weekend with high tide and big storms hitting each other together. The cars that were everywhere due to the flood waters were the next big thing after seeing the Pasha on the beach.
Maureen: The astonishing skill of the men who rescued the sailors who remained on the ship
carolina: 4 major trees fell on our property but all fell in opposite directions and did not crush the house. But the husband slipped with the chainsaw trying to clean up, resulting in a small cut on his leg, a trip to the hospital and then to see the big ship on shore. Remember it too well!!!
Marilyn: I was worried if my husband was going home from work at the Newcastle Harness Racing club in Broadmeadow. Everything was flooded with cars underwater. He finally got back to Toronto around 11 p.m. 5 hours late, but safe!
Jasmine: I remember having a hard time getting home from school (I lived 30 minutes away) because of flooding and a collapsed roof of a school. Was crazy time!
Ron: One hell of a day and night, the journey home from work which was normally 10 minutes took over an hour and a half with traffic and forced detours.
Aaron: Wow that went fast. I drove my Torana that I had in there to see. I arrived at Harry’s and it looked like the ship was on the grass it was so big. Then the cops set up a defect station.
Hannah: What a nightmarish storm it was. I remember driving home with cars stuck in the road, stranded and stuck. This was my first time stopping to pick up an old couple who live in Eleebana, they had dumped the car and were walking in knee high water. 15 years wow.
Lisa: Waratah Brass – Newcastle loses rehearsal space, many instruments and thousands of sheet music (amongst loads of other equipment) as the streets of Wallsend are flooded 😢 go on.
Christopher: My house was flooded and my wife at the time couldn’t get out the front door because the water was rising so fast and was so high. We had a 6 month old baby and she was freaking out. It was a horrible night but we survived. And I’ve read people saying it was terrible because they were coming home late from work. Please.
Katherine: Returning from Sydney by train. Due to a mudslide on the tracks, we had to stay put. Luckily I had leftover treats from staying the night before. So I shared my olives, cheese, cracker cookies and strawberries. Finally, very slowly, we pushed on to Fassifern station and that’s where we all got off. My knight in shining armor arrived and took me home with 3 other ladies. Luckily we had a 4×4 to cross all the water in Glendale. what an adventure we had.
Anne-Maree: I was working in the media then. It was the madness of journalists and photographers running around soaked. Couldn’t find enough spare uniforms to keep them dry!
Renay: I remember our neighbours’ boathouse was completely demolished and their boat ended up under our pier.
Anne: Sitting at home in the dark with a crying 3 week old who refused to feed and only took a bottle. …..no hot water for the bottle so I warmed the water from the bottle under my dressing gown lol. no food, just stale toast as it was shopping week.
Phillis: The last piece of our furniture was moved to our brand new home as the storm hit in the late afternoon of the 7th, I will never forget that night, but we stayed dry. Not a leak. Our builder came to check on the move, stayed too long and took him four hours to get home, half an hour ordinarily. Such devastation for so many Newcastle.
Scott: I lost all my belongings in Cardiff, including the loss of 15 clients’ cars. Had insurance, got paid, and rebuilt the shop/business from absolutely nothing.
Murray: I remember being on the tug Wickham that day when the call for volunteers was only put out to sea to save three ships that were running aground at Caves Beach and Stockton, the bulls pasha s were already beached when we loaded the salvage equipment. I remember crossing Newcastle in 17m seas and surfing the faces of those huge waves sometimes dropping 10m freefall on the back of those swells. It took 2 hours to reach the ship landing at the caves beach and another 4 hours to deploy the rescue equipment and finally pull the ship out to sea. After ten hours we arrived at the ship which ran aground on Stockton Beach. But he was already aground right next to the signal. The eye of the storm passed overhead and then blew the ship off the beach. It was the most intense 24 hour shift I have ever worked. That gives us another month to withdraw the pasha’s bills. I have great photos.
Pandhi: I remember being stuck at Bi-Lo Cardiff with our youngest, our eldest was stuck at OOSH at Cardiff Public, my husband was stuck at home in Macquarie Hills; we were separated by the floods. Around midnight a nice stranger in a 4×4 with a snorkel took those of us stuck at Bi-Lo’s house, my parents and my husband arrived at OOSH at the same time to pick up our eldest. We were lucky to be home when the worst of the storm hit. Oh, memories.
Wendy:Driving down Gow Street in waist deep freezing water, dodging empty Wiz bins with my 3 kids in tow, trying to reach higher ground because the house was flooded with water. An absolute nightmare.