Gladstone local Matt Harper enjoys the aftermath of the floods by four-wheel driving through Beecher State Forest via Kirkwood Road. Photo Tammy Lewis / The Observer
Gladstone local Matt Harper enjoys the aftermath of the floods by four-wheel driving through Beecher State Forest via Kirkwood Road. Photo Tammy Lewis / The Observer Tammy Lewis

While some clean up at Beecher, others get out and play

BEECHER managed to walk away fairly unscathed after ferocious ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald.

For Beecher local Col Keech, the biggest impact of the storm was the heavy rainfall, which caused his dam to rise up over the top of the bank.

"We were pretty good," he said in relation to any other damage. "The causeway was over. But the council came out and put a road closed sign up."

Mr Keech's property, adjacent to Dawson Hwy, painted a positive picture of the storm's aftermath, except for a number of trees on the ground, uprooted during the storm.

And while for some it was time to clear up the yard, for others it was time to play.

While many residents began clearing away storm debris, a few Beecher locals took the opportunity to take out their four-wheel drives and enjoy the mud and muck through Beecher State Forest via Kirkwood Rd.

Born and bred in Gladstone, 21-year-old Beecher resident Matt Harper knows the best places to enjoy the region, despite the floods and cyclones.

"I've learnt where to and not go after its pi**ed wet," he said.

During the heaviest period of the cyclone's rainfall, Matt said the water on their dam came right up to the embankment on his family's property.

"We were thinking of taking the boat out," he said. "The neighbour's dam even joined onto ours."

Matt Harper takes a drive around his family's Beecher property after the severe storms.
Matt Harper takes a drive around his family's Beecher property after the severe storms. Tammy Lewis

Matt said he thought the floods from 2011 had gone on for longer, but this time around the rainfall was a lot deeper.

"All I really remember from that flood was me blowing up the gearbox, playing in the mud," he laughed.

The dirt bike enthusiast and four-wheel driving buff knows how to enjoy some healthy fun in the floodwater and was keen to get out to Beecher State Forest to make the most of the mud.

Asked whether four-wheel driving was better after floods, Matt quickly replied, "Oh yeah."

"It is a bit more of a challenge," he said.

As a skilled four-wheel driver, Matt knew all the best places to go and was quick to find the largest water holes created by heavy rainfall.

Some were too large to attempt in his ute, but others provided the perfect 'safe' four-wheel driving challenge.

With his brother and girlfriend in tow, Matt was clearly a pro when it came to four-wheel driving through the muddy forest.

"It's good no-one's lost too much this time," Matt said. "But I've had some fun in the four-wheel drive."

Working as a machine operator, amongst other things, Matt is preparing to head back to work today.

He is uncertain what damage may await him at his current Tannum work site.

"It will be interesting to see what's left."

As for the overall flood effects, Matt was quite relieved: "At least I didn't break anything this time."