This image shows just how high a levee would have to be built to stop water entering Mary St. 2013 aerial flood pictures of Gympie. Photo Craig Warhurst / The Gympie Times
This image shows just how high a levee would have to be built to stop water entering Mary St. 2013 aerial flood pictures of Gympie. Photo Craig Warhurst / The Gympie Times Craig Warhurst

The ill-fated plan to stop the CBD from flooding

GYMPIE'S 150-year history is book-ended by 20m floods, with two inundating the region in 2013 at nearly the same height as the city's first in 1870.

More than 143 businesses and 25 residences were buried by the rapidly rising water, which peaked at 20.3m after a torrential downpour on Monday, January 28.

"Swamped” was the headline on the following day as the community began to count the cost of the disaster which claimed the life of one man.

The recovery was barely begun, however, when the region was smashed by another downpour a month later.

This time the Mary peaked at 18.44m, a blow which left some business owners wondering how they would get back on their feet.

Angus and Jay Forrester standing on the flood-damaged roadway approaching Widgee Creek bridge.
Angus and Jay Forrester standing on the flood-damaged roadway approaching Widgee Creek bridge.

Cooloola Paint and Panel's Kane Kelso said the first flood had already cost his business $80,000, while the Empire Hotel's Craig Mylrea said his bar was full of customers when Energex cut the power at 6pm that night.

He said it was a decision which cost him thousands.

The floods sparked debate on whether the CBD could be protected from the rising tides, with a $22.7 million levee one of the options thrown onto the table.

Building the wall became a controversial topic, and it was declared "Dead in the Water” on the front page of The Gympie Times' January 23, 2014 edition after new estimates blew the project out to $34 million.

Gympie Times


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