In 1999 I had a very vivid dream. In the dream I am standing at the base of a high-rise building. It’s the Brisbane Stock Exchange. Suddenly a large jet airliner crashes into the building. The plane emerges out of the other side and the building collapses. The devastation is immense and all that is left is a large hole in the ground. I am safe but everything around me is destroyed.
The dream had such an impact on me that I began to fear travelling in airplanes. Every time a plane went overhead my heart would beat a little faster. I got married later in 1999 and my husband and I flew to Far North Queensland for our honeymoon. I remember telling him on the plane about my dream and how I was a bit scared. We both laughed at how silly it sounded.
The day of the terrorist attacks in New York, September 11 2001, I saw a version of my dream played out on every television channel. I couldn’t believe what was happening. My psychiatrist told me that all dreams represent something that has occurred in the previous 48 hours.
I have another dream which bothers me. It’s a recurring dream that is also very vivid and I think about it often. It takes a number of forms but basically I am living near the coast or in a city with a river running through it (yes, that would be Brisbane). Suddenly there is a tsunami and the sea rises up and destroys the town. Everyone is madly running as fast as they can go, trying to outrun the waves, trying to get to higher territory. The waves do not retreat and the place is completely swamped.
I make it safely to higher ground, along with a small group of family, friends and some strangers. We travel as far away from the town as we can get, still fearful of the rising waters. We travel into the hills, to the most beautiful place in the world and we are safe. We decide to make that place our new home. Most people have not survived and we are very grateful that we did.
I had my first tsunami dream the day before the Banda Aceh tsunami of December 26 2004. It was probably just a result of over-indulging on bubbly on Christmas day but you never know.
I live in a small seaside village on the shores of Hervey Bay in Queensland. It’s a low lying place and 7,000 years ago the seas reached about 1km inland. You can still see the ‘second ridge’ – the elevation of the original beach, now covered in vegetation.
Earlier this year a cyclone hovered about 100km away from Woodgate and we could feel the winds from the edge of the low pressure system. The wind created large waves which pounded on the shore and one day the waves started to break through the ‘first ridge’, something which the locals had never seen happen. After about 10 days the cyclone eventually moved further out to sea.
One day I think we may have to ‘run for the hills’.