In February, 2019, approximately 500,000 cattle were killed by catastrophic flooding across north Queensland’s Carpentaria Gulf plains. The flood waters rose suddenly, forming a sea of water up to 70km wide. Record depths were reached along 500km of the Flinders River, submerging 25,000 square kilometres of country.To supplement a news report, when next he went to air,one ‘Journo’ wrote a scribbled note of wares beyond repair –a young boy’s trike, his sister’s doll, a polished antique clock.His closing words – ‘a testing time: confronting mental shock.’
Welcome Strangers.When drought descends the Western Fall, there is no place to hide.
When thunderheads evaporate, and dry heat turns aside
attempts by men to stem the stream of mortal misery,
they mould their will and wend their ways to pre-empt history.
The ringers, farmers, cockies knew, from years of testing fate,
disaster strikes but once each year at any station gate.
One scorching summer scorned those odds – when all the west was dry
–the towns of central Queensland took a beating from the sky.
Those barren plains, the mocking rains, made dogged Drovers cry
when cattle-men from near and far had kissed the Wet Good-bye.
No way could they have ever known a storm like none before
would flood their dusty, arid land from Isa to the shore.
he first big falls for many months, when served up as a treat
made grown men weep then celebrate how life could be so sweet.
They danced and laughed and joked about how high the creeks would flow,
not knowing, then, that rising tide was born to grow and grow.
The rain poured down, the rivers rose beyond recorded highs:
the Flinders breaking over banks caught locals by surprise.
For near nine days, the thunder rolled, the black clouds filled the sky,
a freezing wind the fatal blow to have the cattle die.
Knee-deep in mud the stock and horses suffered bitter cold.
The news emerged of thousands dead: the horror stories told
that large machines must now be used to clear each sordid mound
where cattle lay in huddled mobs – denied the higher ground.
The rain had gone, some roads were dry, the clear blue skies returned:
the ‘PM’ came to view the mess and think on all he’d learned.
He seemed aghast at damage caused, the rotting carcass smell,
the fences gone, the gates askew and roads all shot to hell.
The grievous tales, appalling sights, had brought the man to tears:
he felt so close to fractured lives, the worst he’d seen in years.
A dumb-struck bunch of farmers’ children stood beside their kin –
those kids have shown, they buoy their own, when rehab chores begin.
Objective surveys often show how rural people strive
for seven days in every week to make a business thrive.
At times like this, they are at risk when character is tried:
they need the Nation’s help to find their faith and inner pride.
We have a chance to do a job, to play a vital part,
where Aussie mateship bonds like glue to mend a broken heart,
where welcome strangers bend their backs and lend a willing hand
to help good people garner strength to resurrect their land.
Those distant towns, the farming class, when called,
will roll their swag,support a cause and lead the way to fly the Aussie flag.
The ‘Worldly Wise’ should understand that bounty cannot flow
when country regions are denied a true and just ‘Fair Go.’
High Country Legends, Stories, Pictures, Songs and Poems (Past and Present)