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Writing of the Week

In light of the effects of the recent undersea volcano eruption in Tonga, with changes to winds, tides and weather generally - ranging across the Pacific from Peru, to California, to Sydney - long term questions about what's in store for us into the future need to be faced.

Ros Lawson here poses questions that have been troubling her for some years ...

Have we reached peak tsunami yet? Has the last of Tonga’s unwanted arrivals crashed upon its shores?

While our fears about that event ebb for now, another tsunami still threatens our feelings of safety. We anxiously scan the horizon of news reports to see if our Covid fears can subside, or, instead, will we be caught in a viral rip which stays with us, not swept far out to sea?

After overcoming the virus, is a tsunami the way Sydney will end? I have always feared such an inundation after seeing the 1977 Peter Weir film The Last Wave, which starred David Gulpilil and Richard Chamberlain.

'Hasn’t the weather been strange … could it be a warning?” proclaims the poster for the film.

The final shot is a towering ocean wave approaching the city, leaving the viewer wondering: is this reality or the hero’s apocalyptic vision?


Text: Roslyn Lawson

Images: northern beaches photography by Murray at Sprout Daily and film poster


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