What remains of Neville Mason’s house after a ‘willy-willy’ ripped through Lennox Head in 1975.
What remains of Neville Mason’s house after a ‘willy-willy’ ripped through Lennox Head in 1975. The Northern Star Archives

Mum and son lucky to escape tornado at Lennox

MANY readers will remember the tornado that struck Lennox Head on June 8, 2010, destroying homes in the town.

It wasn't the first time a tornado struck the town. On March 2, 1975, at 2.30pm a "willy-willy" ripped apart a home owned by Neville Mason, scattering debris nearly a kilometre away.

Lismore was flooded and a ketch had run aground in the rough seas near Lennox Head. Mr Mason was helping the crew when the tornado struck.

His housekeeper Shirley Shaweroff and her 11-year-old son, however, were just about to leave the house when the tornado approached.

Mrs Shaweroff was reported in The Northern Star as saying she and her son didn't know what to do as they saw the whirlwind come over the hill towards them.

"It sucked up an old cow bail and a pig sty in its path," she said.

"It was moving so fast I knew it would be useless to try to outrun it.

"We decided to stay in the car, which was just as well as the house was almost wrecked.

"As it came closer, it grew wider and seemed to encompass the whole house.

"I pushed my son to the floor of the car and laid down on top of him and we heard a tremendous bang as the whirlwind sucked up the house.

"If we had been in the building, we might have been killed."

The roof was torn off and the lounge room, dining room, kitchen and foundations damaged.

The town rallied around the family, with a cottage offered rent-free.



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