All the rivers run

Gascoyne River flows past Yinnietharra station

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The causeway at Yinnietharra station where the water height reached 4.6m early this week.

The causeway at Yinnietharra station where the water height reached 4.6m early this week.

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By looking at the 4.6 metre height of the Gascoyne River as it flows past Yinnietharra station last week, it is hard to fathom that it hasn't rained on the property for about two years.

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BY looking at the 4.6 metre height of the Gascoyne River as it flows past Yinnietharra station last week, it is hard to fathom that it hasn't rained on the property for about two years.

Despite being in the middle of a drought, David and Elaine Smith could not be happier after ex-Tropical Cyclone Damien dumped hundreds of millimetres of rain in the north Meekatharra area and it flowed down stream towards Gascoyne Junction and on to Carnarvon.

"It's exciting," Ms Smith said.

She said in the five-and-a-half years they had been on the station "it's the biggest flood we have seen" since a cyclone in 2015 (although that wasn't so much).

"Apart from that we have just had a lot of wind," Ms Smith said.

She said the water started running on Friday last week and "gradually built up" and was "three kilometres wide at the bottom boundary".

Due to the flooding the house was on an island and they were "stranded" with the river level 3.5m above the causeway - but they were laughing that "green feed" was finally going to be on its way.

Cattle huddle together as flood water washes past at Mingah station.

Cattle huddle together as flood water washes past at Mingah station.

"We are happy there's going to be some green feed," Ms Smith said.

"The buffel grass that grows along the water courses will shoot up in a couple of days of the water receding."

Ms Smith said Yinnietharra station had about an 80 kilometre boundary with the Gascoyne River and with the causeway flooded they could not receive their weekly deliveries or exit the station via road, although her husband has been up in a helicopter to assess the water levels and monitor their cattle as some had been "marooned on an island".

The Smiths typically run about 5000 head of Brahman cattle on the station.

Ms Smith said they sold off some cattle recently "in view that it could be another dry season" and have been undertaking "a little feeding" to supplement their diet because of the drought conditions.

She said the station only had one big dam and that would be full to capacity after the flooding, while they hoped that the water somehow got into the underground artesian system which they relied on to fill troughs for livestock.

While things are looking up at Yinnietharra station, it's a different story for Mt Augustus station and tourist park which has also been affected by the flooding, as well as Mingah Springs, north of Meekatharra.

Mt Augustus station and Tourist Park manager David Hammarquist said roughly tens of thousands of dollars of damage had occurred during the flood.

"It was really unexpected - it just came up so fast," Mr Hammarquist said.

While they had been checking the river level throughout the day - seeing it peak and then recede - they didn't anticipate it to rise again to waist height in some places and knee height at the homestead.

"It just came up so fast it caught us a bit unawares," he said.

Mr Hammarquist said emergency services had been good to deal with but the experience showed there needed to be better water monitoring systems on the rivers in the region so that they could accurately gauge the rainfall and eventual river height.

Seven days after the worst flood in recent years - "three times deeper than the previous flood of 2015" - the Hammarquist's are still in recovery mode and haven't even had time to check the full extent of the damage.

"It was like where do you start?" he said.

Grass had already sprung up in the valley after 30 millimetres or so of rain fell prior to the flood but "things will be doing better now".

The priority was to get the tourist park open as well as a temporary shop they have onsite to accommodate travellers.

The Gascoyne River breached its banks after heavy rains from Ex-Tropical Cyclone Damien drenched the inner Gascoyne recently flooding properties along its banks as it made its way to the coast.

The Gascoyne River breached its banks after heavy rains from Ex-Tropical Cyclone Damien drenched the inner Gascoyne recently flooding properties along its banks as it made its way to the coast.

Meanwhile, a Go Fund Me page has been set up to help in recovery efforts at Mingah Springs station, north of Meekatharra on the headwater of the Gascoyne River, after the homestead was flooded when 206mm of rain fell on the property in 21 hours during ex-Tropical Cyclone Damien a fortnight ago.

So far 33 donors have raised more than $8000 to help the family.

Currently only 4WD access is available to the 121,405ha station.

Ben Forsyth, a neighbour speaking on behalf of Peter and Tracy Elliot, of Mingah Springs, said a special Facebook page had also been set up - Mingah Mates Muster - to co-ordinate a 'busy bee' for the March long weekend.

He said it included "a truck available to take up fodder, horse feed and other donated items immediately prior to that weekend".

"If people wish to attend or contribute please find the group page on Facebook," Mr Forsyth said.

He said the Elliot family had suffered greatly from the flooding with at least 60 head of cattle (many having been hand-reared) drowned after being washed up against fences and trees, as well as the loss of their home and personal belongings.

The cattle had been mustered into nearby holding paddocks for hand feeding over the past six months and ranged from calves to older cows.

He said it was the second time the Elliots had been flooded after a freak storm hit the property a few years ago.

Prior to that the homestead hadn't been flooded in at least 70 years.

"They went to bed with drought breaking rain drumming on the roof and had breakfast in knee deep water at the kitchen table," Mr Forsyth said.

"It's just heartbreaking to see after all that Peter and Tracy have been through these last few years.

"All the effort and resources they have put into saving their stock through a savage drought was washed away in a couple of hours."

Mr Forsyth said Mingah Springs had been in a severe drought for up to three years and had been the recipients of recent hay runs.

"It started raining on Sunday (February 9) night and they woke up at 2-3am on Monday morning in knee-deep water in the house," Mr Forsyth said.

"It's the second time in the history of the property they have been through it.

"The first was in 2014 - but this was much higher than the first time."

Mr Forsyth said the "old homestead is a write off" after being flooded both times and insurance agents were visiting the property this week to assess the damage.

"It's distressing, it's not just the homestead - there's also the scarring of the earth," he said.

"The topsoil is gone.

"By Wednesday they were able to drive around the property and could see that the ground barely absorbed any moisture.

"By Friday morning there was a massive dust storm and the silt continues to be blown around, making clean-up efforts even more difficult."

Mr Forsyth said the station was in an isolated area and due to a "period of difficulty around the nation (with bush fires, floods and drought) it was easily overlooked," but the event was "significant on a local level".

The story All the rivers run first appeared on Farm Weekly.

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