Property owner John Atherton with Gympie Sporting Clays Club treasurer Andrew Thew inspect the resting place of the missing shipping container, washed into Wide Bay Ck and then the Mary River.
Property owner John Atherton with Gympie Sporting Clays Club treasurer Andrew Thew inspect the resting place of the missing shipping container, washed into Wide Bay Ck and then the Mary River. Contributed

Chance sighting finds lost shipping container

WHAT was once lost is now found for the Gympie Sporting Clays after the club was reunited with a giant shipping container lost in January's Australia Day long weekend floods.

The Sexton-based shooting club was hit ruthlessly by January's monster flooding.

Club infrastructure was lost to torrents of floodwater from a raging Wide Bay Creek while standing structures were reduced, in some instances, to piles of rubble.

Although the club's newer building was spared by a matter of centimetres, built on higher ground after earlier devastating floods, a big loss was a giant shipping container.

The shipping container was valued at $3000 and housed a generator and many other pieces of valuable club equipment before being swept into Wide Bay Creek.

Club member Doug Austin at the time appealed to the public to report the errant shipping container if found but weeks went by with no reported sightings.

The breakthrough the Sexton club longed for came at the end of last month when landholder Greg Birt spotted a light grey object lodged in bushes down on the banks of the Mary River.

Remarkably, the container had been found almost 10km from its original location.

The property owner remembered seeing an article in The Gympie Times about the lost container and phoned the Gympie Sporting Clays to report his find.

"It was lucky where it ended up in the bushes," Mr Lewis said.

"It was jammed up in the trees and stopped it from going further down the river.

"Who knows where it could have gone - maybe Maryborough!"

The club's good fortune continued when John Atherton, a nearby property owner, offered to retrieve the stranded shipping container.

Through some good old-fashioned farmer ingenuity, the container was soon plucked from its river resting spot.

"We had some troubles opening the lock but a bit of spray soon loosened things up and we were in," Mr Lewis said.

Water gushed out from the container, including two bemused frogs and a cane toad.

The club's generator was beyond salvation, but Mr Lewis said nuts, bolts, pieces of steel and four sheets of expensive plywood were recovered.

"We are very relieved to have tracked down the shipping container," Mr Lewis said. "We have lost a lot of equipment but even getting the container itself back given how much it costs is a big bonus."

The flood knocked Gympie Sporting Clays around but the club has rallied and continues to operate.

Next weekend, the shooting club hosts a qualifier event for the Queensland State Titles in Brisbane later this year.

Gympie Times


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