Shirley Harring

writer, farmer advocate, madwoman

Water Water Everywhere

January 2, 2011

After two and a half weeks of houseguests, my house looks like a debacle. Add the fact that it has rained solid for that 2 weeks (and the 3 months before that) and I have a damp debacle.

And as lovely as it is to see my family (and how I cry every time Iza goes home again), it’s also lovely to see them leave. Is that a bad thing to say?

Having just returned from the umpteenth (and final) trip to the airport, I did a quick tidy of Iza’s room before settling here with a nice cup of peppermint tea. (oh – Iza – if you are looking for your shampoo, conditioner, sunglasses, sketch pad, slippers, dressing gown or toiletries they are here).

While most of my fair State is in terrible floods, I am lucky to only be surrounded by damp debacle, Iza’s leftovers and muddy dog prints. One of my best friends has lost most of the family possessions and still have a meter of water in their house. Another is stuck on one side of her country town with her 3 week old baby. She’s camped at someone’s home while her husband is only 4 kilometers away but on the other side of a very swollen river, where he has been stranded for 3 days.

I count my blessings.

On one day of very rare sunshine, I took the guests up to Wivenhoe dam (Lake Wivenhoe) to see the floodgates open.  Only a few months ago, we were in serious drought. The main catchment area sat at a mere 15%. Yesterday, it peaked at over 120% capacity. And that’s just one of the dams in one of the catchment areas. It gives you an idea of just how much rain we have had in the last 12 weeks. It feels like it has rained forever.

Wivenhoe had all 5 floodgates open gates releasing water yesterday. This is something most people will never see in a lifetime.  I wouldn’t take my camera over to the main viewing platform as the over-spray was so high, so strong and so thick it was drenching. But to stand in it, listening to the powerful roar of the water as it spilled out and to feel the spray just soak through every pore of the skin was one of the most wondrous experiences I have had. The air was peppered with a million little rainbows as the fine misty spray spun through the air.

I took this photo from the top area that looks down onto the river bed.  They say a picture is worth 1000 words, but I swear this picture cannot even touch the amazingness of seeing those gates open and that massive, missive rush of water surging forth.

Happy New Year to you all, and may you remain safe, happy and DRY wherever you are xxx


  1. It is quite incredible. I am glad that you are all ok. The news reports, taken mostly from the air, cannot give quite the impact. So many human as well as physical disasters, so hard to comprehend the scale and enormity of it all.

  2. Am glad to read that you & your family are okay. Nature can be so overwhelmingly powerful.

  3. Good to hear you and yours are ok albeit a tad dampish.

  4. Blimey! Absolutely incredible! Your poor friend with her baby and so many others affected.

    Hope it all dries up soon x

    That photograph is amazing – can imagine the roar of the water and spray.

  5. Rhu,
    What weather challenges all over the globe- The eastern coast of Canada have had buckets of snow and rain- The US has had tornados and blizzards in places that don’t even know what snow looks like.
    Some of my Aussie blog friends are having heat waves unimaginable and you have had so much rain.
    Your poor friend with a 3 week old baby – I hope the rains stop and that summer brings you some warm pleasant days.
    Wishing you a wonderful 2011.
    Warmest regards,

  6. ‘…of droughts and flooding rains’
    We sure live in one amazing country, eh Rhu? I know what our ‘little’ dam was doing the other day – incredible stuff. Cannot IMAGINE the power of Wivenhoe going over… hoping all Brissy water restrictions are now lifted!

  7. Will we ever have a Christmas time that doesn’t bring with it some crisis or another where you hear on the radio the details of where to send your donations?

    It is a sad fact that we live in a country of such extremes. If it isn’t flood, it is bushfire.

    I’m glad all is well with you, and I hope those being affected find relief soon.

  8. We’ve been seeing news coverage of the floods here….what a MESS.

  9. What a great post – I enjoyed feeling that drenching!
    Glad things aren’t too soggy where you are.
    Happy New Year to you too.

  10. Stunning picture, cant believe all the rain you are having. We are having a rather cold summer here on the mountain and a lot more rain than normal too. Mind you the garden looks fabulous with all the lush greenery!
    ps. thankyou so much for lubberly chrissy card, you are more organised than I!

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