Killarney pool manager Tara Clarke and WIRAC centre manager Don Warrener hose out the Condamine River mud.
Killarney pool manager Tara Clarke and WIRAC centre manager Don Warrener hose out the Condamine River mud.

Killarney folk keep spirits up

A BIT of elbow grease, a gurney and even a hair dryer is all Killarney needs to wash away the mud of the Condamine River flood which ripped through the town during Monday.

As residents pulled up their sleeves and donned gum-boots for the extensive clean-up the consensus of the tight-knit community was one of optimism and well wishes for their country counterparts down-river in Dalby and Chinchilla.

Killarney Swimming Baths manager Tara Clarke said “things could always be worse” as she heaved a large squeegee across the concrete to push muddied water into the newly repaired pool.

“The water was blue and sparkly because we only just opened the pool late last month after it was repaired,” Mr Clarke said.

“It had cracks at the bottom and was repainted but we’ve used a gurney to wash the silt and mud off the concrete into the pool. The pool can easily be drained then and we just clean the bottom.”

The extent of pool damage will not be known for some time as the Clarke family – who lease and manage the facility – was unable to gain access into the kiosk due to a swollen door.

“It’s sealed shut but at least the electrical works for the pool was up high so that

should all be okay,” Ms Clarke said.

Ms Clarke said her optimism stemmed from the vision of her car being swept away by Monday’s flood waters near Allora.

The Allora resident recalled with eerie clarity how a trip to Warwick could have turned tragic in matter of minutes.

“I was driving to town and, at first, it was just a puddle but further along the road there was another water crossing which was too deep,” she said.

“I got caught in between two crossings on the highway. By the time I turned around to go back the puddle had turned into something more. Three cars in front made it but my Commodore and another little car didn’t.”

Ms Clarke said her car’s towing cost hurt – the bill was $330.

The economical impact of the flooding is mounting in the region with Killarney’s Tuckerbox just one of the town’s shops swamped by the Condamine’s swell.

Tucka Shop owner Shirley Cooper said she had lived in the town “some 50 years” and local knowledge served the community well.

“The water rose about knee height in the shop. We can’t get the fridges up off the ground but we were able to save stock,” Mrs Cooper said.

“My husband (Rod) got my hair dryer to dry everything out and with the help of family and friends we were able to get things running again.

“There’s a lot of local knowledge around here so we could work out how long we had before the water came down from The Head.

“It’s the waiting which gets to you. You put something up and then realise you need it and take it down again.”

Down the Warwick-Killarney Road two mates of more than five decades reminisced about the flood.

Killarney’s Don Mauch worked with a brush hook to clear debris from his farm’s fence, a chore friend Milton Rippingale saw as he drove along the highway.

“The water went up over the fence and you can see the ferocity and strength of the water by how it flattened all the grass,” Mr Mauch said.

“It didn’t meander up; it came up fast and went down fast.

“We just deal with the water here, downstream at Dalby and Chinchilla they’ve got to deal with a lot more flow on.”


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