Severe Tropical Cyclone Ada was a small but intense cyclone that caused significant damage to the Whitsunday Islands and areas between Bowen and Mackay on the Queensland north coast.
After its detection as a suspected tropical disturbance far out in the Coral Sea on 5 January, the cyclone developed slowly and followed a general west-southwesterly course. It began to intensify early on Saturday 17 January in the vicinity of Marion Reef, about 300 miles east of Bowen. Marion Island reported winds of 50 knots (90 km/h) confirming Ada 's intensity. Ada crossed the Whitsunday Island group and the coast near Shute Harbour and Proserpine late on Saturday 17 January and during Sunday 18 January causing considerable damage from the high winds and subsequent flooding. The cyclone eventually lost intensity after moving inland beyond Proserpine and degenerated into a weak depression on the evening of Monday 19 January.
The damage which Ada wrought hs been conservatively estimated at $12 million (1970 dollars) and the cyclone was responsible for the loss of thirteen lives. The brunt of the cyclone's fury was borne by Hayman, Daydream, Long, South Molle and Hook Islands, and the area from Airlie Beach to Cannonvale, Proserpine, Calen and Shute Harbour. Heavy rains and flooding brought havoc and dislocation of traffic and communications in the coastal strip between Bowen and Mackay.
For more details see the comprehensive TC Ada Report (1.2 MB).