It is an extraordinary moment. A stadium of 4,000 hormone-charged teenagers from all walks of life, sitting in absolute silence, engrossed by the scene playing out before them. No one has asked them to be quiet. It just happens when you’re watching strangers die in front of you.
We are at the 2011 Youth and Road Trauma forum, an event which is the brainchild of the extraordinary team at Sydney’s Westmead Hospital Trauma unit. Exhausted from years of dealing with pulverised youthful bodies due to motor vehicle crashes, the team’s director Dr Ken Harrison decided it’s time for a new tack.
Usually, 16 and 17 year-olds converge at the Acer Arena for rock concerts. This is different. The scene unfolding on the large arena floor is a re-creation of a fatal road crash involving teenagers. The ‘drivers’ and ‘passengers’ are young actors, but everyone else is an emergency professional playing their roles in such a matter-of-fact manner, it’s deeply disturbing to watch.
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4PM UPDATE: SEE BELOW FOR DAVID’S PICS FROM MAGNETIC ISLAND TODAY
Regular Punch reader and commenter David Pierce spent the night in his weatherboard home on Magnetic Island, 8km off Townsville, bunkered down against the fury of Cyclone Yasi with his wife and two children.
“My darkest moment came when the wind shifted and stuff was breaking up and hitting the house,” he told The Punch this morning. “The worst part was not knowing what was hitting the house.”
Fortunately, Pierce and his family got though the night. (Check the wind gusts at a nearby weather station on this link). And as he spends today cleaning up the debris in his yard, he has no doubt why Yasi’s human toll has been so low.
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Our flag flutters from letterboxes, fenceposts and trees along our roads – an enduring and binding tribute to the resilience of our communities in the 12 months since that fateful February day we now call Black Saturday.
Their resilience was tested like never before on February 7, 2009. And it has been severely challenged many times since as they struggle to slowly rebuild lives, homes and entire towns.
The progress has been slow, painfully so, for many communities. A year on Kinglake is still without a petrol station, Marysville still waits for a school and new shops. And people in each community have had to battle ever increasing bureaucracy and building permits based on new building standards that still can’t deliver the required roofing and window materials.
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@mitchellhaywood Glad to hear you enjoyed it and best of luck with your adventure you have lots to look forward to!
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