Frontier Services staff across the country are getting on with the job of supporting remote Australia despite the extraordinary challenges posed by the weather.
This week, the North Queensland RAFS team was forced to postpone a field trip due to expected flooding across the region. It proved the right choice with the flood waters leaving roads impassable in the Gulf Savannah region cutting off Charters Towers, Greenvale and Cape York.
Field Coordinator Diane Sherman said they had kept in email contact with families isolated by the floods, however some families were cut off from communication completely.
“We have got to know how to read weather out here and when we saw the satellite, we could tell this was going to be a big event,” she said.
The Niall homestead near Greenvale where NQ RAFS has previously hosted playgroups on the lawn under the trees was transformed into a sea while a section of the highway, normally dry, was completely swamped by the Clarke River.
Meanwhile, staff at the North Queensland Rural Family Support Service stood by with other locals as flooding waters cut the town in half, despite only 49.6mm of recorded rain in the previous 48 hours.
Coordinator Colleen Cooper said it was very hard for some people to understand how the town could be inundated with water when it had only recorded minimal or no rainfall.
“It is due to the catchment area of Hughenden,” Colleen explained.
“Glendower Station, a marking point about 43km north, can get heavy rain and it causes flooding in Hughenden. This is not the only area that affects us. The White Mountains area in Pentland is another. So thanks to Mother Nature’s mysterious ways we are quite a unique little place that can be isolated by flood waters without even a drop of rain!”
However, the flooding did have its upsides for some of the local children who got to go home from school early.
“Some of the local children were heard praying to ‘keep the sprinklers on God so we don’t have to go to school tomorrow’. Much to their horror they realised that the Deputy Principal Mrs Jones, and the detention teacher Mrs O’Neil were also stuck on the north side,” said Colleen.
“It was a great joke and kept the kids on high alert.”