The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #86988   Message #1621426
Posted By: Helen
06-Dec-05 - 03:43 PM
Thread Name: happy? – Dec 6 (Halifax Explosion)
Subject: RE: happy? – Dec 6 (Halifax Explosion)
I read a novel called Burden of Desire by Robert MacNeil, of MacNeil Lehrer NewsHour fame, about the Halifax explosion. I found the graphic details of the catastrophe compelling, and it was satisfying as a novel as well. One of my favourite books.

One of the scenes in the novel which come back to me now and then is how the townspeople were rushing out to the ship to help put out the fire but the sailors were rushing away from the ship because they knew it was loaded with ammunition, which the harbour authorities had not been told because of the war.

I originally heard about the disaster back in the late 70's when I was living in a terrace house on the hill facing Newcastle Harbour (NSW, Oz) . Someone visited us, looked at the view and told us about the Halifax explosion and that the hillside facing the harbour was flattened.

The map of the Halifax hill is very similar to the layout of the Newcastle Hill (the suburb is called The Hill).

Not long after the 1989 Newcastle earthquake I started reading it again but I had to stop because the disaster details were too real. Not that we had a lot of casualties from the earthquake but the destruction of buildings and large parts of some suburbs was incredible.