The LSM is at it again. Everything that happens weatherwise these days is always unprecedented. The USA has just experienced more tragic tornadoes and the UK press claim that this is somehow “unprecedented”. They are simply wrong. However, it is here in Australia where we are experiencing heavy rain and floods that I am addressing.
According to this report, an 1886 record is set to be broken. In terms of the rain that has fallen that might in fact be correct. I will wait and check out the actual statistics because I do not trust the journalists to get this information correct. In the same report the journalist yabbers on about the rain being unprecedented, and reports someone stating that you have to go back 20 to 30 years for something similar. Actually, it is more than 30 years since the floodgates of the Warragamba dam were opened. I believe that it also happened in the early 1980s, it most definitely did not happen in the 1990s or the 2000s. It happened at this time of year in 1978.
How do I know? Because I lived through the rains and the flooding of the Hawkesbury-Nepean rivers. At the time I had just given birth to my oldest son, and had returned to South Windsor from Melbourne. My son was due to be baptized at the Easter Vigil and we had family coming in from other parts of NSW and Victoria to attend the Baptism. In 1978 we had the same relentless rain for more than 1 week. It was very heavy rain, and it was a rain that was set-in, meaning that there was very little let up in the rains. The floods in 1978 were quite serious. There were several people who died as a result of those floods, including a 15 year old boy who died whilst trying to rescue people. There was a tide mark on the Jolly Green Frog, the hotel that is at the entrance way to Windsor and near McGrath’s hill. That tide mark was from the 1978 floods.
We lived in South Windsor at the time, in RAAF married quarters. Our house was not subjected to flooding, but further down the same street, and then in streets that were parallel to Cox Street, several of the married quarters were flooded. We were not entirely cut off, and we could get to Windsor, but we could not get into Richmond because of the flood waters. There was one route that was open between South Windsor and Penrith via the Chain of Ponds road.
What I want to emphasize here is that even the golf course that was at the back of our house went under water. The same was true for the houses at the end of George Street. They went under water. In fact I was shocked to see estates being built on land that was under water in the 1978 flood. At the time my husband’s squadron, 486, were detailed to help with the evacuations. There were some very ungrateful civilians at the time, and they were quite abusive considering that these men were giving their time to help them keept their goods dry!
To claim that the rain and the floods is unprecedented in my view is absolute tommy rot. Considering that this is not the first flood in the region, it is just ridiculous to use that kind of language. Also, the floods in the district were well-known. That is why Governor Macquarie designated the five towns where people could live on high ground and not be affected by floods. Building in those flood plains is a really stupid idea.