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Community cut off again

Some of the people who are cut off by the swollen Fitzroy River north of Gogango.
Some of the people who are cut off by the swollen Fitzroy River north of Gogango. Daniel Burdon

MARK Howard is cut off once more and accepts that "this year the Easter bunny will have to arrive by boat, again".

The grazier, who lives on the northern side of the Riverslea Crossing, north of Gogango, is well used to isolation and deprivation.

But that doesn't mean he isn't sick of it.

His is one of 10 hardy families who last year were unable to drive to Rockhampton to stock up on supplies for more than six months.

Children had to go to school by boat and the farmers had to cart their cattle and grain to market by the same method.

Heavy rain in the past few weeks has left them stranded again.

And with more deluges predicted in the Fitzroy catchment, it could be a long time before Mark and his neighbours are able to drive off their properties.

"My wife is a teacher and has to stay in town all week, which is a pain," said Mark.

Children are regularly ferried across the fast flowing river to get to school and the farmers say it is a major problem getting their livestock out.

At times when the crossing is closed it is possible to drive north to Marlborough and then use the Bruce Hwy.

But that route is often blocked by flooding and the journey can take three hours.

"But the biggest fear we have is what will happen if there is an emergency. Will the services be able to get to us?" he said.

"Last week our neighbour's three-year-old was sick with severe vomiting and had to be taken across the river in a boat at 9.30 at night to see a doctor.

"It was a bad one. The helicopter rescue crew was called but they said they couldn't come because of bad weather."

Mark said many of the families kept a vehicle either side of the river and there was a fleet of tinnies in use.

"Last year was the longest period we have been isolated. You really don't mind a week or two here and there, but in the last few years we have been stranded for many months."

He said the development of a weir and high bridge would not only end their isolation, but would also drought-proof Rockhampton.

Topics:  boat, flood, rain, water, weir


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