When Mother Nature roars…
While we were away, on our mini-break after a very hot fortnight of branding, Mother Nature decided to answer our prayers for rain.
Sometimes you really need to be careful what you wish for.
Because while we were away, unprecedented floodwaters hit my region, and those along the coast from it in Queensland.
Soon after the sheer scale of this event became apparent, our power and phone went out. And (thanks to a generator and the satellite dish which survived the downpour of 13 inches in two days) the only way for us to communicate with Lachy and Cal (our jackaroos left in charge of Granite Glen) was the internet.
Social media has literally been the only way to communicate for the majority of our region. (So weird that in this day and age, power and phone should let us down, yet satellite dishes and generators allow us to reach out and stay in touch.)
Here are just a very small selection of the images harvested from Facebook – images which I looked at in horror on my phone as I checked updates, from the remoteness of our Brisbane hotel… be warned, some are pretty confronting.
Monto – our gorgeous little town turned into an island.
View from along the Three Moon Creek as farms, houses and sheds go under…
Then further downstream, it seemed to get even worse…
Munduberra – a sweet orchard town, where so many homes and businesses, piggeries and farms drowned. Some of the stories from here are sickening.
I believe this is a shot over one piggery that went under.
Gayndah main bridge – if anyone knows this town they will know how VERY high that bridge is.
Both these images are from either Munduberra or Gayndah (can anyone tell me?)
They make feel hollow, looking at these and imagining how the families from each home and business are coping.
As the water began to go down, the damage caused became horribly evident.
(Pic: Kristy Habermann)
A road which we would normally use to get to Bundaberg from here. Not for a while, I don’t think!
(pic: Rebecca Wilson)
The ‘highway’ between Monto and Eidsvold.
(You can see how we worried about the logistics of getting home.)
The entire town of Eidsvold has been without power for almost six days. Can you imagine – no refrigeration, air conditioning, services or phone? It was very strange driving through there on Tuesday night – the only lights from solar Christmas lights left up by residents with other things on their minds.
There are so many stories also shared on Facebook (and finally, after some prompting, on ABC radio) – one of a local girl who woke in her farm-house to find the river under her floorboards. Who tried to walk the few hundred metres to the highway and was swept away by a wall of water and clung to a tree screaming at motorists almost a kilometres away from her perch, who would drive down and turn around at the river’s edge, who couldn’t hear her above the roar of the water. She was finally (miraculously) found five hours later clinging to that same tree, by a neighbour and his son in their dingy. She watched dead animals float by and trees around her bend and break – when we drove by there two days later, almost every tree in the plantation into which she was swept now lies flat. Chilling.
This girl managed to get a brief mobile phone call to her mother before she tried to walk for help. At least someone knew to look for her. Who knows how many people got into trouble and simply couldn’t call for help. There are many more stories, many tales of endurance and isolation still to be told. Many other little communities in the region – Mt Perry, Baffle Creek to name just two – have had to fend for themselves after being half-washed away for a week now.
Already though I see people reaching out, offering help in the form of physical assistance and replacement goods to allow their neighbours to continue on. So much more needs to be done, but the resilience of my community humbles the hell out of me.
We got our phones back last night after four days without. Our power has still not been restored after almost six days. I look at these photos however, and re-read those stories and understand how very lucky we are. Our images from the damage here at Granite Glen (which I will share soon) have to play second fiddle to the ones shared above.
Don’t forget the North Burnett – they will need support from their fellow Aussies for a long time to come.
* Please note – all photos taken from the Monto Floods 2013 Facebook page. I will acknowledge photographers as I find out who took them.
Aerial pics taken by B.J. Woltmann, a chopper pilot.