1955 flood, Mary St, Gympie. Attribution: Gympie Regional Libraries
1955 flood, Mary St, Gympie. Attribution: Gympie Regional Libraries

Gympie doesn't need a flood levee, but it needs something

Letters to the Editor

No levee for Mary Street

AS MEMBERS of the "chosen few” in our "precious CBD”, The Gympie Times, Saturday, 18/11/17), we find Dave Freeman's comments, as usual, offensive, ill-informed and ill-mannered.

CLICK HERE: Who gives a damn about a CBD in a flood?

We in Mary Street do not demand to be protected from our "own folly”, but as ratepayers who contribute in excess of $10,000 every year to the council coffers, we would like our voice to be heard.

1999 FLOOD Gympie residents near Kidd Bridge on the evening of Monday the 8th, as the Mary River steadily rose, few realised what was about to happen over the next 24 hours.
1999 FLOOD Gympie residents near Kidd Bridge on the evening of Monday the 8th, as the Mary River steadily rose, few realised what was about to happen over the next 24 hours. Renee Albrecht

What we would really like to see in place is not a levee, but some well-reasoned and well-informed debate on flood mitigation (as happens in Bundaberg and Maryborough).

Bundaberg Regional Council Project Manager Warren Paulger examines the finished stabilisation work on the levee bank backing on to Bundaberg Creek at Kendall Flat. The area was significantly eroded in flood events.
Bundaberg Regional Council Project Manager Warren Paulger examines the finished stabilisation work on the levee bank backing on to Bundaberg Creek at Kendall Flat. The area was significantly eroded in flood events. Contributed

The efforts of the late Ron Dyne to explore the levee issue was a refreshing change to the usual post-flood 'talkfest', which focuses mainly on the many things that cannot be done. It appears that a levee is not a universal solution and is not practical for Gympie, quite apart from the expense.

1999 FLOOD: The Mary Valley Heritage Railway's rail motor provided a vital link between Gympie and Monkland during the February flood, ferrying workers back and forth across the high level Deep Creek rail bridge.
1999 FLOOD: The Mary Valley Heritage Railway's rail motor provided a vital link between Gympie and Monkland during the February flood, ferrying workers back and forth across the high level Deep Creek rail bridge. Renee Albrecht

We must look elsewhere for solutions, possibly multiple solutions, since we've more than exhausted the topic of finding the 'magic bullet'.

Following the massive flood of 1893, Walter Hay of Noosa, suggested that during such events, some of the flow from the Mary River be diverted to the coast before reaching Traveston.

The Madills building on the corner of River Road and Monkland Street has withstood many floods, including the flood of 1955 when there was 20 feet 4 inches of water on the floor.
The Madills building on the corner of River Road and Monkland Street has withstood many floods, including the flood of 1955 when there was 20 feet 4 inches of water on the floor. Renee Albrecht

(Walter Hay was instrumental in the construction of the route from Tiaro to Noosa, so he knew the area well).

As the driest continent on Earth, Australia needs to be harnessing its precious water flows, not allowing them to be wasted when they have finished their destruction.

With proximity to the expanded Sunshine Coast Airport, our shire is well-placed to seek new food-bowl opportunities that may arise from this proposal of re-routing of the mighty Mary.

This photo is of the flood of February 4, 1893, which peaked at 25.45 metres.  Reached the office of Tozer Solicitors (now Jeffery Cuddihy and Joyce Solicitors), upper Mary Street and where The National Australia bank now stands.  The flood water went around the back of Mary Street and covered the floor of the Town Hall.  Photo supplied by Les Priddy.
This photo is of the flood of February 4, 1893, which peaked at 25.45 metres. Reached the office of Tozer Solicitors (now Jeffery Cuddihy and Joyce Solicitors), upper Mary Street and where The National Australia bank now stands. The flood water went around the back of Mary Street and covered the floor of the Town Hall. Photo supplied by Les Priddy.

Regarding the survival of our "precious CBD” and "saving us from our own stupid decisions”, Dave Freeman and his ilk see the proliferation of shopping centres as real progress for the future of retail.

With their canned music, artificial climate and easy parking facilities, (even if no longer free), shopping centres offer the same shops with the same product throughout the country, whether it is at Gympie Central, Sunshine Plaza, Chermside, Carindale or Indooroopilly.

This photo is of the flood of late February 1875 taken from Mary Street.  Smithfield Street is between the two buildings. The building on the left is a bake house, later site of Rankin and Careys. Peak was around 22.10 metres.  Patterson Brothers store (site of Hanlons Curtain Talk) had a few inches of water over the floor. Photo supplied by Les Priddy.
This photo is of the flood of late February 1875 taken from Mary Street. Smithfield Street is between the two buildings. The building on the left is a bake house, later site of Rankin and Careys. Peak was around 22.10 metres. Patterson Brothers store (site of Hanlons Curtain Talk) had a few inches of water over the floor. Photo supplied by Les Priddy.

On-line shopping also looms as another well-resourced challenge.

Despite spending many millions establishing these centres, they are unable to replicate the wonderful ambience and historic atmosphere of our "precious CBD”. It may surprise Dave Freeman that there are a substantial band of shoppers, prepared to negotiate the vagaries of traffic and parking, who enjoy shopping in our "precious CBD”.

They appreciate the efforts, experience and courteous and friendly service they receive from the hard-working shop-keepers in Mary Street.

STANDING TALL: Roger Broadley presents Gympie's new book store in Mary Street, possibly the only one in the world named after a giraffe.
STANDING TALL: Roger Broadley presents Gympie's new book store in Mary Street, possibly the only one in the world named after a giraffe. Arthur Gorrie

Visitors to our region every day offer compliments about our unique Mary Street. It is a shame some locals take it for granted and regard it, erroneously, as a burden to rate-payers in general.

A diversity of retail offering is worth striving for. Local, family-owned businesses are under constant challenge from the major multinationals. Local support is the best means to ensure our street does not become homogenised and sterile, totally lacking local flavour.

Give us a break, Dave.

Roger and Lorraine Broadley,

Twiga Books and Toyworld

Gympie Times


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