SOME of you would have heard of Australian rangeland ecologist, Dr Bill Burrows. Bill, now retired, lives on the dunes at Emu Park with views of the flood plume flowing north from the Fitzroy River mouth. According to Bill this has been one of the least dramatic and cleanest floods with only occasional frothing from pollution visible in the Coral Sea and, up to this time, much less debris washing up than even with the much smaller flood in 2006.
Bill witnessed the 1954 flood (the second highest since Europeans arrived) which was still just receding when a young Queen Elizabeth visited Rockhampton on March 16 that year. Bill’s father was a station ‘ringer’ during the 1918 flood; known locally as The Great Flood which peaked at 10.03 metres (almost one metre higher than this event). In the scheme of things, according to Bill, the present case is just another flood and not a particularly severe one relative to 1954 or 1918 – and much cleaner than previous floods, perhaps because of improved land and river bank management.
Yesterday afternoon Bill and I did our bit by collecting some of the flood debris washed up on the beach. Amongst the water hyacinth and hymenachne (an exotic water grass) we found a small drum of oil and lots of empty Coca Cola bottles. I took some photographs and so did Bill (earlier in the morning of the plume and froth) … click on each image for a better, clearer, larger view.