Marita Wilkinson

The evacuation of Darwin, Christmas 1974.

Darwin Christmas 1974 - Cyclone Tracy evacuation

“A Christmas I'll never forget.”

While the rest of Australia was getting ready to celebrate the festive season, Darwin was bracing for disaster. On Christmas Day in 1974, Cyclone Tracy hit and devastated the city. With the people of Darwin in desperate need of support, Marita Wilkinson was one of the many Qantas employees who leapt into action.

Answering the nation’s call for help, Marita boarded the first relief B747 aircraft with many other devoted team members. As a junior nurse at the time, in the Medical Department at Mascot Jet Base, she assisted injured people and helped evacuate them from Darwin.

With over 600 people on that flight, Marita remembers that it was so full that some passengers even shared seats. Despite the tragic circumstances, the care and compassion of Marita and the first responders shows how the Spirit of Australia has helped people in their time of need. 

- Marita Wilkinson, Former Junior Nurse, Mascot Medical Department