Lucerne farmer Dean Rockemer at his flood-ravaged Booubyjan property this week.
Lucerne farmer Dean Rockemer at his flood-ravaged Booubyjan property this week. Renee Pilcher

Water's rapid rise, flow made it worse

THE speed of the rise of water in the Australia Day weekend floods has been blamed for the devastating impact it had in parts of the Gympie region, particularly out west and in parts of the Mary Valley, where Mayor Ron Dyne believes it could be the worst destruction seen in generations.

Farmers in those areas were hit harder than in recent history, and the losses were doubly painful in that most had not fully recovered or finished rebuilding after the impact of the 2011 and 2012 floods.

"I consider that this flood had caused the most damage, especially in the western area and around the Mary Valley," Councillor Dyne said at the end of a frantic week spent visiting all corners of the region, courting a parade of visiting State Government ministers and the Premier, and exploring ways to help those local residents worst hit.

"The damage to farmers is far worse this time," he said.

"Most of them are young and giving it their best shot, and to get wiped out two years apart is a major impact."

Mary Valley Cr Julie Walker described the January 2013 flood as "a shocker" and said the speed of the rising water was the worst aspect of it.

"It just caught so many people off guard," she said.

"They thought they had time, but they didn't."

The "unbelievable force of the water" that tore through parts of the region was terrifying, she said.

Reports of up to 800mm of rain falling in the Black Snake Range, which feeds into the water courses of the Mary Valley and western parts of the region, could go some way to explaining that force.

Gympie Times

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