On Thursday 22 July 1926 a devastating cyclone hit Geelong. Winds of over 200 miles per hour brought down power lines, destroyed churches, halls and houses in Highton and Belmont, before sweeping across paddocks to strike Palmer's tannery, wrecking it just before its 22 workers were about to knock off at 5 pm. Damage was estimated at £20,000. Roofs were torn off and a 65 foot high chimney was hurled to the ground. Some buildings and also three houses in the area were completely destroyed. It then struck the unoccupied Brearleys' tannery before sweeping across Lake Connewarre as a water spout. Frank Zelly of Ormond Road, East Geelong suffered a fractured collarbone and shoulder blade when he was hit by flying debris and flung into a boxthorn bush. He was in hospital for five weeks. He had hidden his life savings in a shed which was destroyed and never got over the storm. Three months later he committed suicide. He left a wife and three children.