Police and SES stand watch over a motorist who’s vehicle stalled in flood waters on Kent Street, Maryborough Qld
THE mud may have washed away, but the scars remain in the hearts of Maryborough residents.
This time six years ago, more than 20 Maryborough businesses were filled with muddy water, and people were stranded in their homes.
The date was January 11, 2011, and Maryborough was experiencing its worst flood since the 1990s.
Over the next two days, 26 businesses were inundated, with losses totalling $4.5 million with a further $12 million in damages to Fraser Coast Regional Council infrastructure.
Melissa White from Earles Paint Place in Adelaide St said she remembered how quickly her team had to work to move the entire store’s paint supply to higher ground, in a race against rapidly rising waters.
“It was a quick one too as I remember, there wasn’t a lot of warning and I wasn’t able to get in again [after the floor was cleared], I remember I wasn’t able to get into the shop because it was so quick, I was stuck at home,” Ms White said.
“We pulled all the stock up and had it all ready and then we had to pull it all down after that.”
“It was worrying yes, it was just lapping the top steps, but it came into the bottom of the store and underneath,” she said.
“We used to have the bottle shop in underneath the back of the shop in 2011, so the bottle shop then was [flooded], it got quite damaged and we had to redo some panels, but we knew it was going to happen, we know we’re in a flood area.”
Ms White said owning a store in a flood-prone area meant inundation was something they always prepared for around this time of year.
“We prepare for it every year anyway but it’s always devastating when it comes through,” she said.
By the second day of the floods, The Pocket in Maryborough was also isolated.
Kevin Cordy has been living in The Pocket for 70 years, and has seen his fair share of Maryborough floods.
“We had no warning, it came up very quick,” Mr Cordy said.
“On the Friday, January 7 at 6pm, the water was just over the bank a little bit, but by 1am that night it had come up very quick, it came up very close.
“Normally floods come from Gympie and we have two or three days notice, this time it came up very fast, in six hours, and from a lot closer.”
It was around midnight that Mr Cordy heard a knock at his front door; it was his neighbour desperately asking for help to bring in his cattle.
But it was too late.
“I was able to get all of my cattle up in time, but my neighbour actually lost some,” he said.
“Some they found, some they found dead, they’ve got room to put them up, but they couldn’t get to that paddock before the water got there first.”
Mr Cordy and other residents in The Pocket were stranded for three days until the water levels fell below the road.
“I’m on a hill, the water comes up and surrounds us, but it’s something we’re always prepared for,” he said.
“I live on a farm and the wife has enough food in our pantry for about for six years, so there was no issue there.
“We just had to sit there and wait for the water to clear.”
It would be two years later when Maryborough would be hit by a more devastating flood on Australia Day, with water levels reaching more than 10 metres.
MARYBOROUGH QLD CITY CBD FLOOD MAP-1
More than 60 CBD businesses were hit and $15m in damage caused to council infrastructure.
MARYBOROUGH QLD CITY CBD FLOOD MAP-2
The council is now working on a multi-million dollar flood levy in the Maryborough CBD to prevent serious future damage, but that will not protect every business or home in the CBD.