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Jan Flood Update

Posted by TravellingStrom on January 5, 2011

Well, it was good a to have a day off. In fact I phoned in late arvo to see when I was needed next and was advised I would have two days off. Cool, because it was Dad’s birthday and I needed to get him a present, when the shops were open. That was all good for a few hours, then I get called in to do the Ergon assist boat run in the morning, a familiar story eh!! Well, we shall see. In the meantime, some of the overseas people may be under the impression that the whole town is going under, like New Orleans, but you can rest assured, although a fair percentage of low lying areas will be inundated, a lot of the towns population live away from the river on high ground. This next photo is one of the main streets and at the next turn right is our HQ. Although straight ahead is cut off, that is the direction of the river, there are ways around the streets to stay dry in a lot of areas.

So, finally we get to launch the boat and help the Ergon boys, the local electricity supply company who are concerned with the build up of logs and weed etc on the power pylons, I guess they are designed for downwards force, not sideways. Anyway, we launch just down the road at another railway crossing where it goes down besides the cricket grounds. Isn’t it strange, all the sports fields are in the flood prone areas?

These are the pylons I have been talking about.

Another sport underwater, this time the ‘sport of kings’, Callaghan Park Racecourse, but I guess only good for seahorse races now eh!

The pathway, quite diligently kept clear all year round, except we are crossing the local soccer grounds, so we have to be carefull of goalposts, dressing shelters etc, a small amount of weed up this way.

The soccer club I think from memory, pretty much wasted!

Trying to remove weed buildup without getting hooked by barbed wire, put there to stop people climbing towers, usualy quite a few meters off the ground! In fact we are in 3 meters of water here.

Not sure what happened to the little magpie, but he did not look healthy 😦 Now, we had to cross the Fitzroy River to follow the pylons and it turned out to be not as bad as I thought it would be, but, remember the yacht we saw the other day, when we went looking for the dude in a rubber ducky? Well, we had to go back down this creek and what a difference a few days make, his boat was on the other side of the creek, so he must have been back to move it and the blue fishing vessel, well see for yourself!!!!

Yep, the boat dragged or broke its mooring and is now well and truely stuffed, it is sitting on top of the bridge structure and when the tide goes out, who knows what it will do, go down and under or just sit there, time will tell, poor people? Now we are in the calm of the flood waters which are now only a few meters deep and very wide with paddocks and a few gates and fences under us, nothing dramatic, but there were a lot of pylons to check, some clear some very blocked off with weed or branches causing fast eddy currents in some places.

After a few hours we headed back with the job done to the best of our ability with bare hands. Sometimes, the weed reached below the waterline by over a meter and was fully entangled, some cutting tools would be needed next time. Quite a few choppers were around over Rocky and as it was the only means of air transport into and out of the city, this is to be expected. They are being used to shuttle in food and essential supplies. Also we passed another sporting ground, the local hack club, very wet indeed.

OK, job done now we head to south rocky after retrieving the boat and put the boat in on the southern highway into town, Gladstone Road. The task is to bring an essential medical person back into town from the other side of the railway lines, this was a bit easier to say than do, but after negotiating the rapids over the railway lines, we did in fact get there, getting back was another story. The first rail crossing was way too shallow, so we went up the side of it until the next crossing to the right, this one we managed to get over, with the aid of a following current 😉

Once in the calm, it was just a short hike past the local pub, then the school and the local CAT repair shop where they do lots of mining equipment repairs, but this was flooded out and a lot of gear had broken through the fence and headed off to other pastures!

Many people were still living down here, they seemed fine and when asked gave the thumbs up, they had planned ahead, unlike a lot of others.

Isn’t the water supposed to on the inside? Unless it is planned to be the next ark 😉

We checked out some animals on a local property, goats, cattle and horses seemed all good, they had grass and were not going to go thirsty.

So, we have our passenger and when we get to the rail crossing, we had no chance whatsoever of getting the boat uphill against the current(left to right in photo), it weighs about a tonne! In the end we called some more personell, they just got into town from Mackay and came down and helped us skulldrag the heavy beast while a channel 7 chopper hovered overhead, thanks boys 🙂

So, after retrieving the boat from the water and delivering our passenger to her car we headed off back to HQ, via a local shop where dad finally gets his present, a hard time of year to buy sometimes. The local pub next door, managed by a friend of mine Red, has a sense of humour, wishful thinking methinks 🙂

Next task, launch the boat in the street near the HQ and take a police person around door knocking. There was a bit of confusion over this as the water was too shallow for our boat and we had missed the briefing as to what we actually were to tell people, in the end, we retrieved the boat and packed it away for the night. There is a shot of the pub with the dirt wall, you can see the water has risen a bit from the other day.

On our return we were told we had tomorrow off as the northern crew would take over before they headed home the day after, we needed to be fresh for when they go, sounds good to me 🙂

Cheers till next time

4 Responses to “Jan Flood Update”

  1. Craig said

    Great reporting Richard. Best wishes to your Father.

  2. john skillington said

    Hi Richard, great work that you and all the SES are doing, keep it up, stay safe, hope things start getting better soon for Rockhampton. still raining here on the non-sunshine coast and I hear the bruce highway is cut in a few places around Gympie now too!

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