A rising Dawson River (at 12.5m) has threatened to cut off Theodore by rising over a bridge on the Leichhardt Highway.
A rising Dawson River (at 12.5m) has threatened to cut off Theodore by rising over a bridge on the Leichhardt Highway. Paul Fowkes Theodore News

Dawson flood threatens Theodore

THE Banana Shire Council yesterday activated their Local Disaster Management Plan and was preparing for possible evacuations at Theodore.

Deputy Mayor Maureen Clancy said there was a possibility the small town could be isolated last night, possibly inundating low lying homes.

The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting river levels similar to those in 1983, and the Dawson is tipped to reach around 13m by tomorrow. Paul Fowkes, of Theodore News and CQ Scopes, said the school oval was completely underwater yesterday, and the river was threatening to rise above the bridge.

There were also reports that the Theodore State School rugby league team were unable to take part in the Education Queensland Regional Shield for fears they would not get back into town.

Long-term Theodore resident, Keith Shoecraft, remembers the “putrid” smell of rotting vegetation after the floods in 1956.

And while the flooding of the Dawson River through the town yesterday does not compare to the levels experienced in 1956, it is likely the floods are the biggest the town has seen in 27 years.

“We are the lucky ones, really, as we’ve got the high country in town.

“But the people who are really affected by the floodwaters are the cotton growers; some of them are really distressed right now.” Mr Shoecraft said.

Speaking late yesterday, he said the water level was about 12.5 metres, or half a metre below the top level reached in 1983, but he expected it to exceed the flood of 27 years ago.

The dry country grazier remembers walking to school in Theodore in 1956 and smelling vegetation from crops rotting by the side of unsealed roads.

He expects the same thing will happen at several low country cotton farms in the district.

“I’ve got some machinery down at one of the farms, where they’re building a levy right now.

“But there was one cotton farmer here who built a levy, but the floodwaters broke through, and he lost some of his crops.”

“We (graziers) are saying this is the best rain we’ve had in 10 years, but some of the cotton growers are having problems.

“They had the early rain, which was great, so they planted again, and now that’s grown, they’ve got this second rain and the floods are coming through and ripping the bolls off the taller plants, and pulling the younger ones out of the ground.

“But for us, it’s the perfect rain, and the perfect amount, even though earlier on in the season we were wondering if it was going to be enough.

“It’s done great for the buffel grass, but it’s just hard to believe that the dams haven’t filled up yet - it just goes to show how dry it was for all of last year that the water soaked straight into the ground.” Mr Shoecraft said.

While grasses are booming, road access has been cut to Taroom in the south, but residents can still drive through to Cracow to the east of Theodore and north to Banana without any problems.

This is despite the rain building to yesterday’s peak after about three days of continued downpour.

“It’s going to be at least equivalent to the 1983 floods, and apart from the cotton growers affected, there’ll be no dissatisfied landowners in the area.”

Councillor Clancy yesterday asked residents of Theodore, Moura and Baralaba to start preparing their homes and properties for potential evacuation.

She asked residents to move poisons, chemicals, and garbage around the home to higher ground, as well as vehicles and any electrical items.

The Banana Shire Council was closely monitoring the river levels, and will act if heights reach designated “trigger points.”

If residents have any concerns over flooding they should contact 132 500 and in the case of an emergency call 000.

Read about the big wet across Queensland ...

Thousands left homeless by Qld floods

Flooding rains to boost Qld economy

SES crews help flood-ravaged towns

Rivers rage as big wet continues

Floodwaters surge down river

Dawson flood threatens Theodore

Weather puts clean-up on hold

Records fall as rain continues

Weekend showers continue

View Queensland weather warnings from the Bureau of Meteorology.

To keep up to date with the latest road closures across Queensland, visit www.131940.qld.gov.au.

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