There are no clouds in sight, and it hasn’t rained, but the oncoming flood is imminent.
- Heavy rainfall in headwaters on the Southern Downs of Queensland takes about a month to reach properties in western Queensland
- River flooding occurs from the bottom up where the rivers break their banks and the water covers the surrounding land
- These flood waters have given life to Indigenous Australians for thousands of years
It is a country with flood plains, where it does not rain to go down.
Rory Trevik’s Angledool station is located on the Naran River, which is part of the Condamine-Ballon system and one of the largest catchments in the Murray Darling Basin.
It takes about a month for Massive Falls to reach her property at the headwaters of the Southern Downs of Queensland.
That’s plenty of time to move the stock to higher ground, then sit back and wait.
“The term we use for this is ‘beneficial flooding,'” Mr Trevek said.
“Floods are a part and parcel of this country.
environment brought to life
While floods can cause devastation, upwelling waters breathe life into the environment and replenish a variety of flora and fauna.
Flood waters passing through Mr Trevek’s property will flow into Naran Lakes in northwest New South Wales, one of the most important waterbird breeding sites in Australia, with more than 50,000 nests found during the last flood.
It has also been an important meeting place for the Yuvalarai, Kamilaroi, Muruwari and Kuma peoples.
The voices of Yuvalarai and Kamillaroi man Jason Wilson brighten when he speaks of the flooded rivers and lakes.
“So much joy, so much joy and relief that all these rivers are flowing,” said Mr. Wilson.
Land ‘Like a Supermarket’
Such flood waters have bought life to Mr Wilson’s culture for thousands of years, particularly in the Naran Lakes or Dhariva where Aboriginal peoples met and used the abundance of food.
Yellowbelly perch, yams, lignum and pig face are some of the items on the menu.
“When that floodplain floods, it’s like a supermarket,” said Mr. Wilson.
“We’ve been eating at these flows for thousands of years for a long time.
“It’s a tremendous time, it’s a rebound from the really tough times that we had.”
what is science?
The two main types of flood in southern Queensland are river and flash.
River flooding occurs from the bottom up, where rivers break their banks and the water covers the surrounding land more than six hours after rainfall.
While these flood events are not unprecedented, the most significant difference this year is their prolonged nature.
Senior meteorologist at the Bureau of Meteorology, Laura Boeckel, said it changed the way the land reacts.
“Places like Gundiwindi have recorded 15 separate flood events in the last 12 months, many of which are major floods,” he said.
“I really like to think of the ground like a catchment area or a kitchen sponge.
“If the catchment area and land are really saturated [it] That means they can’t take any more water.”
Graziers like Mr. Trevek are still getting used to the welcome of the green pastures.
“You can’t see the fence lines, the cattle are absolutely loving it.
“It’s always been recognized as a very productive country because it floods.”