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 flood

Monto – our gorgeous little town turned into an island.

monto

View from along the Three Moon Creek as farms, houses and sheds go under…

Then further downstream, it seemed to get even worse…

munduberra

Munduberra – a sweet orchard town, where so many homes and businesses, piggeries and farms drowned.  Some of the stories from here are sickening.

munduberra piggery

I believe this is a shot over one piggery that went under.

gayndah

Gayndah main bridge – if anyone knows this town they will know how VERY high that bridge is.

floods

Both these images are from either Munduberra or Gayndah (can anyone tell me?)

floods1

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.

monto floods

(Pic: Kristy Habermann)

A road which we would normally use to get to Bundaberg from here.  Not for a while, I don’t think!

monto hwy

(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.

Thanks.

BB

* 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.

13 Responses to “When Mother Nature roars…”

  1. I am glad you are all safe. The piggeries that were lost? Are any of those farmers kin to Mark?

    Are all your family okay? Folks?
    debby´s last blog post ..Hacked

  2. In an attempt at light-heartedness, I’ll point out that any time I hear people praying for rain, I’m the pushy one to insist they tack on a limit on the order. Something like “no more than one inch per 24 hours” or somesuch. I only wish it could be that simple. Sending hopes for the quickest possible recovery for everyone affected. I’m glad you made it home safe.

  3. It is just gut-wrenching to think of what families, communities, ..even all the livestock and native animals.. to think what they have suffered and endured. My heart goes out to all living through this. From catastrophic bushfires to devastating floods, Mother Nature does like to test our resilience doesn’t she?

  4. Thank you for sharing. It is spine chilling the hardship that some have been experiencing. I can only imagine how worried you where sitting safe in the city as stories from your community finltered through. I am glad to know you are fine and I hope the power is restored soon and that many come to help the communities recover. It is such a huge job ahead and for many they have lost so much. Thinking of everyone.
    Anne´s last blog post ..The End of the Flooding Rains

  5. Terrible isn’t it? The “Mud Army”, fantastic people, already out in action.
    I see the military are helping in Bundaberg. Yep, we needed the rain, but!!!
    Well, in summer, the expected can become the most unexpected, and vice-versa in some years. Fires for a couple of weeks, now floods, but just remember – “WE ARE AUSTRALIANS” as the song says. Just hope the politicans and bureaucrats listen.
    I think “levees” are the answer to protect towns, flood control with rivers is another. I think I read on the Internet that the Dutch have done it, and have had no major flooding of any disaster proportions for 50 plus years. Isn’t Holland, below sea level also?

    Fire bugs and arsonists, plus now “looters”, are another (unmentionable) word, best I shut up, I may offend some readers,
    but there would be a lot of “prairie oysters” for the dogs to eat!

    Best wishes Amanda and Co.
    Didn’t someone say, adversity and challenges brings out the best in us?
    Colin

  6. I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief when you got home safely. Cannot believe the photo’s of Gayndah and Mundubbera and the Island of Monto. I had NO idea the water came over that bridge in Gayndah that is totally insane!

  7. Gosh, You would need Bruce full time just to empty the rain gauge

  8. Glad to hear you guys are okay.

    :-)
    Scotty´s last blog post ..Saturday/Sunday Sepia

  9. Very glad that you got home safely.

  10. Prayers and warm thoughts to everyone. How did your cattle do?

  11. Thank God you all made it home safely. I am heartsick over the damage and destruction you have described…it brings back the memories of the devastating Missouri River flooding that began in June 2011 and lasted for months. Homes, farms,businesses, highways and bridges were innundated…the flooded river reached to about 1.5 miles from my little rural town. I’m on the western edge of Iowa, and the Missouri separates us from Nebraska. the bridge connecting us to the busy small town on the other side was damaged and closed for months. And, yes, cleanup is a b**ch!

  12. These photos are just heart-breaking! I’m glad to know you suffered no more damage than you did.
    Kelly´s last blog post ..Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate

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