Worst flood in 30 years at Bidgemia

Worst flood in 30 years at Bidgemia


Agribusiness
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BIDGEMIA station owners Lachlan and Jane McTaggart said the Gascoyne River is back within its banks where it ought to be, but it might take up to six months before they are able to live in their home again.

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Lachie McTaggart.

Lachie McTaggart.

BIDGEMIA station owners Lachlan and Jane McTaggart said the Gascoyne River is back within its banks where it ought to be, but it might take up to six months before they are able to live in their home again.

Mr McTaggart said waters reached at least two metres higher than the previous record flood levels in 1980, as far as he could tell as all meter boards had disappeared, and would have reached in excess of 10m above normal river levels.

The old Bidgemia homestead had never been flooded before, but this time they had water up to door frame height in some parts of the house, forcing the McTaggarts, including their son and his wife, onto rainwater tanks for the night with their five dogs.

"We spent the night at the 'Starlight Motel'," Mr McTaggart said.

They were finally able to access their station on Wednesday.

Mr McTaggart said half of the homestead had collapsed completely and was beyond repair.

They initially had trouble getting doors and windows open because of the mud inside the homestead and even though everything was stored above ground before the flood, it was not high enough to escape the rising waters.

Their power generation system was still out of order but they hoped to use portable generators to restore some power on Friday so that basics like washing machines and coolrooms could be run.

Restoring a water supply by pumping water from the river should not be a problem unless the underground pipes had been damaged.

Mr McTaggart said he held grave fears for the 1350 cattle he had in holding paddocks and the yard near the house at the time of the flood, but had not had time to fully assess the situation.

"Everything's on autopilot in that part," he said.

"There's certainly a nasty smell as you drive in and out of town."

Mr McTaggart said there was no insurance so it was extremely important for them to resurrect as many things as possible.

"Comprehensive vehicle insurance is covered for flood damage but no other structure, personal belongings, fencing, tanks, troughs or anything after that is covered," he said.

"It's a bitter pill to swallow."

In the meantime, the Upper Gascoyne shire had organised a house for the McTaggarts to live in.

Mr McTaggert's son Hamish McTaggart and his wife Jodie hoped to start living at their house on Friday night even though it would be a makeshift affair.

Mr McTaggart was full of praise for the help the shire and friends have offered but said some the emergency services co-ordination coming from Carnarvon had been a bit hard to follow.

"It's hard to remember now but we were in the middle of a screaming drought when all this happened," he said.

You've got to be careful what you wish for, don't you?" he said. "We prayed for rain, but we didn't pray for this much.

The McTaggarts celebrated Christmas at the Pavilion in Gascoyne Junction with other station owners and townspeople affected by the floods.

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