Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Tuesday, 4 January 2011


In about three weeks I'll be driving west again.

Given what the weather has delivered during the last fortnight that may be a challenge.

Most of the roads I use are closed. The Warrego is cut between Toowoomba and Dalby and also between Miles and Roma. Chinchilla is recovering from record breaking inundation as is Dalby. Condamine is totally evacuated. The Leichhardt is closed to the South of Wandoan, and Taroom, further to the North, is totally isolated.

St George is threatened with its worst flood on record, waiting for the water surrounding Surat to move down the Balonne. God knows what is happening West of Cunnamulla and Charleville. As far as the local media is concerned, Thargomindah and Quilpie may well have vanished from the map. I've read and heard nothing.

The Warrego Highway, which was a disaster through pummelling from grain and coal-carrying B doubles before the floods must be a mess now.

The pic shows the condition of one stretch of the Leichhardt Highway after the water receded. It would be safe to assume that there are kilometers of road in a similar state.

I can't begin to imagine what the families out there are going through. Many have had their properties flooded, and they have had to watch their crops rotting because they can't get machinery in.

Literally millions of dollars worth of cotton and grain is lost. Apart from the physical damage, the humidity, the mossies and sandflies, and the stink of mud make life very difficult.

Smells take you back. I was returning from Brisbane last week, and had to queue at a barricade because there was water over the road near the Glenore Grove turnoff. While I waited, the stink of the flooding was all pervasive, and instantly transported me back to St Lucia (Brisbane) in 1974.

Back then, I was living in Brisbane and had volunteered to be part of a cleanup team that was working in a row of houses which had been completely inundated on Sir Fred Schonell Drive. The odour of the mud and the smell of decay already evident in furniture and linen will stay in my memory for a long time. Wooden houses don't cope well with being covered by water. Everything swells and most internal fittings have to be replaced.

I had cause to remember the situation for reasons other than the smell. After snagging my calf on a hidden rusty nail, I had to head off to casualty for a Tetanus injection. As it turned out, I didn't get Tetanus, but did end up with a nasty local infection. There's a variety of nasty bugs in floodwater.

If you'd like to help the bushies (and the townies) recovering from what has been the worst flood event in a century, log on to the website.

Donations are tax deductible.

1 comment:

Boy on a bike said...

There were floods out where we went for Christmas. Spoke to one bloke who had the unenviable job of removing a dead pig from under a house where it had been washed by the flood. It popped as soon as he tried moving it.

I suggested demolishing the house (weatherboard) and building a nicer smelling one a bit further up the block.

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