Lake Macquarie History

Extreme West Wallsend Weather

We could hear the storm coming. It was around 8pm at night and my kids and wife Leeanne were home with me. We were all frightened.

The alarm bells went off inside my house. I was a retained fire fighter with West Wallsend fire station and on call nights and weekends. I worked as a mechanic during the day. There were bells installed inside my home and a siren at the fire station that you could hear everywhere in town. Before pagers and mobile phones, the bells and the siren called you into work.

I was scared to go outside but I could hear the station siren wailing in the distance. The door of my garage had blown in. I got into the car anyway and drove to the station.

I picked up the handset of the old telephone at the fire station. Then I wound the handle to make an electrical charge. It connected directly to Newcastle headquarters. I lived only a few streets away from the station, so I was often the first one there and made the call. Usually we didn’t know why we been called to work until the call was placed. It could be anything: a bushfire, a house fire or other emergency.

On this day, a tornado damaged houses along Teralba Rd and nearby streets. The devastation was incredible. We were tarping houses and trying to help everyone through the night. When I got home, I saw framing timbers from a house destroyed in the storm speared into the roof of my garage by the strong winds.

Michael Muscat

Former West Wallsend fire fighter

Sunday November 22 1992

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