01 October 2006
The Mary River.
This is the normally peaceful Mary River which has been known to
become a tyrant at times.
This photo was taken from the "Kidd Bridge", during the 1999 flood
there would have been about 25 feet of water over my head had I
been standing at this spot.
This is Mary Street, Gympie's main shopping street looking north.
From about the same spot during 1999 flood, which was the biggest
for 100 years.
Mary Street Gympie, looking south.
Again from about the same position during the 1999 flood, at this
intersection there was about 15 feet of flood water.
The floods that have plagued Gympie for centuries are caused by heavy
rains in the headwater area, just to the north of Gympie there is a
steep walled narrow valley which causes a bottleneck restricting the
water from escaping.
The resultant back-up of water is what floods the Gympie area, this
means that, while the flooding does cause serious damage through
inundation, it is not a roaring torrent that carries away all before it.
Rather it is a gradual rising of which we have a fairly good warning, about
18 hours usually during which time the town is a hive of activity as
people who may be in the way of the water move their possessions to
The worst affected area is the main shopping precinct, where
unbelievably the shops keep on re-opening and awaiting the next flood,
almost without exception the houses that get flooded are rezoned and
are not reused for housing.
If the vaunted Mary River Dam goes ahead this should ensure there are
no more floods for Gympie, however as there hasn't been even a hint of
flooding since 1999 it does make one wonder whether the rainfall
pattern has changed and if so, would the new dam ever fill.
Long term history says yes, but we used to get a serious flood every
three years on average, with two floods in the same year not unheard of
and now here we are without any threat for seven years.