Archive for June, 2016

Community self reliance

June 11, 2016
What happens when the authorities are overwhelmed with repairs and they are not going to even get to look at your problems for a while?  Well, in Tassie it seems like people just get out and fix things themselves!
This was the end of our road on Wednesday morning,
 EndSykesRd
and this was how it looked on Thursday morning.  The wonderful man who owns the property at the end of our road dumped loads of rocks and gravel into the hole then roughly smoothed it out and now we are no longer in danger of damaging the vehicles when we travel.  It helps that the gravel pit is really close and on our side of Union Bridge.  🙂
 EndSykesRdFixed
Then there is the problem of people wanting to get to work or school in Mole Creek but who are stuck on our side of the bridge that has been washed away.  Well some of the younger folk got creative and made a NEW Dry Creek Bridge.
 FootBridge
Good to see it is Occupational Health and Safety Approved – LOL.
Dry Creek Footbridge
We are wondering if we are adventurous enough to use it ourselves.  We could get Paul to meet us on the other side.  The power of the water that pushed that bridge over must have been just phenomenal.
Dry Creek Bridge destroyed by the floods
It is really cool to see people solving their own and other’s problems, and you wonder how much could be achieved if everyone worked together (and we had a little less red tape). Then, just when you are feeling warm and fuzzy, you hear another story of a ute being left on one side of this broken bridge while it’s owner was on the other side, and somebody stole it and burnt it… and you wonder again, only this time at the foolishness of some people!  It reminds me of two facts: that we were made in the image of God and can do great things, but also that we are fallen sinful people and can do terrible things!  On the whole though the community has been very caring and supporting, checking up on each other and willing to lend a hand in various ways according to their abilities, and it is fantastic to see it and be a part of it.

A Drop of Rain

June 8, 2016

I thought I would write to tell you our experiences of the flooding Tasmania has just had this week.  With snow, drought, fires and floods it has been an eventful time in Tasmania over the last 12 months!

The rain started on Saturday evening and just kept on steadily falling until Monday morning, when it moved further east to Launceston and beyond.  On Sunday our paddocks were filling with water and Kim drove down the road to check on whether we could make it out to go to church.  The answer was a definite NO!  We had to cancel the church service, which was probably just as well as even if we had made it to church, we, and possibly the visiting speaker, would not have made it home.

We could see the river flowing over the river flats from the front of our property – which is definitely not normal!

MerseyRiverFlooding1

This was the view of the end of our road – lots of running water digging a trench into the gravel.  We had no intention of crossing that when we could not see a safe path.

EndOfSykesRd

Just around the corner is the Mersey River.  It was about 4 metres higher than normal and was a raging torrent.  Amazingly the bridge seems to have survived having trees and logs smashed and broken up against it.

UnionBridgeLge

The river burst its banks in a pretty  dramatic way, taking over so much land that is usually peacefully full of grazing livestock.  Cattle and sheep have been swept away, the lucky ones ending up in different paddocks further down the river.  Our neighbouring farmer had a barn withstand the river’s fury despite being half submerged on his grazing flats, he has lost 100 cows though, despite trying to move them to higher ground.

RusselsBarn (1)

This picture looks across a paddock on the other side of the river that had recently been carefully ploughed, hoed, fertilised and seeded.  That paddock just became part of the river, churning and roaring its way along.

NigelsPaddock

The water was flowing across the road and took the fences and some of the road surface with it.  It was astounding to see just how far the river spread, and the speed of the water with all the trees, branches and other stuff being swept away in it was quite frightening.

UnionBridgeRd

Yesterday morning, with the waters receded a lot, we had a closer look over the other side of the bridge and could see the damage to part of the road.

DamagedRoad

And the mess that is left of that poor paddock that was temporarily a river, and actually still has an extension of the river flowing through part of it.

NigelsPaddock (1)

Further down the road there has been a small bridge swept away, so we are unable to get into Mole Creek that way for the time being.  That means instead of being 15 minutes away, we are now looking at about an hour and a half trip.  I’m not sure how long it will take to repair things, but they haven’t even had time to consider our road so far.

One of the most frustrating parts of the whole experience was the lack of being able to communicate.  On Monday the internet went down in Mole Creek and the mobile services went down as well in both Mole Creek and Sheffield, our closest town in the other direction.  Since our phone works through the internet, that means we had no phone as well.  Our TV works off a satellite, and it had disconnected itself and needed us to go onto the internet to reset it, which of course we could not do.  So in the end the only way for us to get any information or weather forecasts was by listening to the radio, or by talking to the neighbours.  🙂

Talking (1)

The internet came back on Tuesday afternoon, so we could finally contact Paul and others in Mole Creek to see how they were managing, and we have found a clear path now to Lydia’s work so she is back there today.

Our property came through fairly unscathed.  We had a few leaks in the buildings during the heavy rain, but nothing too serious.  The lower paddocks flooded with some run off from the mountain behind us, but they are steadily draining now.  We are fine though.  Mostly we are feeling for the farmers who have already been suffering with drought, the resulting expensive feed, the terrible milk prices and who are now having to deal with floods and livestock loss.