An Indigenous man sits, head bowed, next to a military plane, his cowboy hat contrasting with the Army camouflage.
He and 700 others from the remote Gulf of Carpentaria town of Borroloola have had no choice but to walk away from their homes in the past 24 hours, not knowing what — if anything — will be there when they return.
Many have chosen to drive to the nearest town, their cars full to the hilt with mattresses, clothing and house possessions.
But many didn't have that option, and instead had to condense their lives down to one small bag apiece.
They packed not just to survive the next few days, but also to preserve documents, photographs and other irreplaceable items.
They and about 2,000 other people in the Northern Territory now must watch and wait as Cyclone Trevor lurches towards the Gulf coastline.
Northern Commander Travis Wurst regretted the separation of people from their homes, but said "our primary consideration for everything that we do, from an emergency response point of view, is the preservation of life."
Territory tough, but still spooked
Ominous words, as anyone who has lived for a period of time in the north will know.
The not-so-subtle message for the people of Borroloola was that they could be facing the destruction of homes and infrastructure in their town.
The Anderson family have been here for generations, working in the pastoral industry, running a successful family station.
Steven Anderson is a well-respected stockmen known for his toughness, and for being one of the best horse riders around. But even he was not afraid to concede Cyclone Trevor had him properly spooked.
"A category four never been through this country before, I think there is going to be a lot of damage. It's going to happen too fast," Mr Anderson said.
He said he thought the right call had been made to get out.
"Mate, (Cyclone) Kathy and Sandy 30 years ago, they were category three, and a category four. There might not be much left — that is going to flatten everything, hey."
Storm triggers dark memories
Mr Anderson and his wife were planning to make one more dash out to the station before hitting the road, adamant they wanted to see their children safe and departed before they themselves left.
Nola Anderson said she was worried, particularly for her grandchildren, and believed evacuation was the only answer.
Her thoughts were, of course, on returning even now, as Cyclone Trevor lurks in the Gulf of Carpentaria.
"Wait and see, hopefully not too much damage, but from the size of it we are expecting the worst," Ms Anderson said.
She's taken a pragmatic approach to an otherwise brutal packing process.
"Especially the baby photos and stuff, we took all the photographs down, we are going to cover our valuables like our TVs and stuff try and put tarp over them, and maybe put a mattress on top just in case the roof caves in," she said.
"I think that is the best we can do but they are all stuff you can't replace."
Some of the old people in the communities didn't want to go: the ABC was told there were fears from the dark days of forced removal from families.
With the thought of being forced onto planes by the Government, a confronting concept, it meant some people have needed some cajoling and reassurances.
"The police are going to make everybody move out, 'cause a couple of the old people really don't want to move, because they don't know what to expect out of here'," said Ms Anderson.
Nola and her husband, Steven, will be some of the last residents to bid Borroloola goodbye, looking out the rear-view mirror and heading down the Savannah Way — no doubt a drive with extremely mixed emotions.
Storm strikes fear at very heart of community
Nataria O'Keefe is also worried.
The young woman was one of the hundreds airlifted out, and she said it was hard not to be stressed by what could be ahead for the town.
"It is heading this way on Saturday. I am worried about the people living here, so we gotta go before it comes," she said.
A thousand kilometres away, she'll be waiting out the cyclone in Darwin, but said her thoughts would very much be about Borroloola.
She's found it hard to pack up knowing how big the system is.
"We'll be worried about our homes," she said.
This evacuation is the biggest in the Northern Territory since Cyclone Tracy in the 1970s.
It's logistically challenging because of the remoteness and unpredictability of cyclones in the Gulf of Carpentaria.
But there is one certainty: This is a weather system that's striking fear to the very core of this remote community, and the next few days will be filled with deep anxiety, as they wait for the destruction to be unmasked on Saturday.