Santa Never Made it to Darwin by Bill and Boyd
News bulletins interrupted normal television and radio programming on Christmas Eve to break the news of Cyclone Tracy. With the full impact of the cyclone hitting Darwin in the early hours of Christmas Day 1974, wind gusts reached a speed of 217 km/h before the anemometer was destroyed. Meteorologists surmise Tracy reached a speed of 240 km/h. The tropical storm dissipated on 26 December leaving more than 80 per cent of the city devastated and 66 lives lost.
The country dealt with the shock by fundraising in earnest for relief efforts as Darwin was cut off without communication and residents of the city were airlifted away to temporary accommodation across the nation. At the Boxing Day test cricket match between England and Australia, both teams collected buckets of donations from the boundaries.
'Santa Never Made it into Darwin' was released as a charity single in January 1975 by New Zealand-born country music duo Bill and Boyd, who had been living in Australia since 1964.
It is worth mentioning the amount of work that would have gone into the writing, recording and speedy release of the single by independent label Fable Music. It is an enormous achievement which would have involved intricate logistics to go from song idea to final physical product on sale in stores within a few weeks.
With lyrics that accurately portray the velocity of the disaster, the music is somewhat at odds to the message as it is delivered in an upbeat happy country style; it is fair to surmise that the music may have been already written by William Bill Cate and was adapted for the new track. 'Santa Never Made it into Darwin' peaked at number two on the Kent Music Chart and was awarded APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association) song of the year; it was Bill and Boyd’s most popular release. In 1976 the duo performed on the Channel Nine TV special Down Home, Down Under with visiting US artist Glen Campbell and continued preforming on the club circuit until 1989.