Flood-stricken club in shock

The smashed remains of the Gympie Sporting Clays Club following the Australia Day long weekend floods last month.
The smashed remains of the Gympie Sporting Clays Club following the Australia Day long weekend floods last month. Contributed

GYMPIE Sporting Clays member Doug Austin has seen many floods, but none with the ferocity to hit the district on the Australia Day long weekend last month.

A faithful member since 1989, the former club secretary struggled to take in a scene of devastation when returning to the Sexton club as floodwaters subsided.

The modest yet much-loved club was levelled by an unforgiving flood generated by volumes of water dumped by former tropical cyclone Oswald.

A Gympie Sporting Clays club member picks through the wreckage as the club battles to get back on its feet after last month’s monster flood.
A Gympie Sporting Clays club member picks through the wreckage as the club battles to get back on its feet after last month’s monster flood. Contributed

While the club was hit hard back in 2011, this flood set a new precedent for the level of damage inflicted.

Austin clutched a print-out last week of the clubhouse as it once stood and said very little remained.

"We were hit pretty badly back in 2011 but this time around (it) was much worse," he said.

"It's pretty much all gone this time and we've been left with nothing. At least last time there was something left to rebuild."

Making the Australia Day long weekend flood so much more deadly was the short time-frame in which waters rose.

Rain fell so heavily on Saturday night, club members had little time to react.

"It was just too quick," Austin said.

Not a welcoming sight at the gate of the Gympie Sporting Clays Club.
Not a welcoming sight at the gate of the Gympie Sporting Clays Club.

Counting the costs of the flood is a painful experience and the price tag of Oswald is staggering.

Aside from all the electrical equipment in the clubhouse, a shipping container full of important shooting gear has been lost downstream.

The container costs close to $3000 while its contents are just as expensive - including a generator that Austin said would cost anywhere up to $3000 to replace.

"The shipping container was spotted in the middle of the paddock but the next flush took it away," he said.

"It goes to show how strong the water was to move a big heavy shipping container."

A bobcat is hard at work cleaning up a paddock strewn with wreckage following the flood.
A bobcat is hard at work cleaning up a paddock strewn with wreckage following the flood.

Gympie Sporting Clays is putting the word out for those in the Sexton area who may spot the shipping container to report it.

"We've looked best we can but haven't had any luck," Austin said.

The sun is again shining and the Mary River tame once more but Austin now says the club will not be rebuilding.

"We don't have confidence in the site after this flood and we will be looking for a new location," he said.

The one thing the flood didn't tear away from the Gympie Sporting Clays was the club's resilience and the recovery is now well underway.

Gympie Times


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