Floods Hit Remote Town in Queensland, Australia

The small northwest Queensland town of Dajarra, south of Mount Isa, was hit by heavy rains Thursday night, 27 February 2014, which led to flash flooding and the evacuation of some homes in low-lying areas. Unofficial reports were of more than 150mm (6”) of rain, causing rivers in the area to rise rapidly, including Carbine Creek which runs near the centre of the town.

David Weston, manager of Stadbroke (cattle) station, that surrounds Dajarra, said that the station was being referred to as “Stadbroke Island”, after receiving 83mm (3.25”) of rain overnight, the first rain of its kind on over two years.

Emergency services say the main road to the town was reopened after being cut earlier in the morning after rivers and streams rose quickly.

Three homes were evacuated and a further six were inundated. Some people stayed in the local hotel and others went to friends and family, according to Mount Isa Police Superintendent Russel Miller. He said that a Queensland Rail train carrying a crew of two had been stranded for some hours after the railway tracks between Mount Isa and Duchess were flooded.

Dajarra Floods, Photo: ABCNorthWestQLD
Dajarra Floods, Photo: ABCNorthWestQLD

“We also were able to rescue a train crew that was stranded in some fairly fast-flowing water and they have been brought back to Mount Isa at one o’clock this morning,” Miller said.

A ‘road-train’ truck driver was stranded overnight in the McKinlay area on the road to Cannington Mine which is about 80km from McKinlay town, but had made it through to the McKinlay police station next day.

In addition, Miller reported that two mine workers from Cannington Mine had also been stranded by the floodwaters.

“They’re self-sufficient; they have food and water and they’ll wait until the water recedes and they’ll be able to get back to Cannington mine”, he said, adding that the mine workers fortunately know the area very well.

Queensland experienced flooding from Tropical Cyclone Oswald in January 2013, but this was not as bad as the 2010/2011 floods in eastern Queensland.

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Sources: ABC Australia; Xinhua