IT WAS dramatic start to the year for Agnes Water mum Rachel Rapley.

In the midst of the January floods, Mrs Rapley gave birth to her daughter in the family living room after the roads in and out of Agnes became cut off.

Ms Rapley was not due to give birth for two days and, with her first son being born two weeks late and no warning signs, she felt there was no need to head to Bundaberg early.

Since her dramatic entry into the world, baby Guinevere has been going well.

But the family may have to consider living elsewhere in the future if the roads in and out of Agnes aren't flood proofed.

"We saw the doctor this week and it looks like Guinevere may have some asthma problems as she gets older," Mrs Rapley said.

"If the roads can still get cut in heavy rain, it's something we'll need to consider in the future."

Mrs Rapley said the roads in and out of the area were a priority.

"It's really not good enough," she said. "Not just for medical emergencies but also getting food supplies in and out. There's been times when we've been on rations, only allowed to buy one bottle of milk or one loaf of bread.

"Everyone I've spoken to wants something done about it."

Gladstone Regional Council deputy mayor Matt Burnett said access to Agnes Water during flooding had been an issue for a number of years.

"It's a state road but we advocate for it," he said. "We've been lobbying to put funding into fixing the road for some time."

Cr Burnett said several options had been considered to improve access, including building up Fingerboard Rd, building a high road and raising the Essendean Bridge.

"It's certainly a high priority for the residents of Agnes water," Cr Burnett said.

"The state member has been doing a great job lobbying for it and we're hopeful it will be addressed in the near future."

 

Lowmead State School during the floods that hit the town.
Lowmead State School during the floods that hit the town. Contributed

Floodwaters leave pub struggling

UP TO four metres of water rushed through the Lowmead Hotel in January. The pub wasn't covered by insurance.

Lessee Jo Taylor and her partner have spent the past three months cleaning up. They couldn't afford to pay for help.

"Three months without wages, it's been a struggle," Jo said. "I was advised by solicitor to walk away, but I just couldn't."

The iconic pub has only recently re-opened.

"It was a big deal for the community," Jo said. "I think it helped bring everyone back together."

Jo said many community members had been badly affect by the floods. A second round of heavy rain less than a month after was another knockdown for many still trying to rebuild.

Jo still recalls the morning the water started to rise.

"The pub had never gone under before, but we knew pretty quickly what was about to happen," she said.

"We had people laughing at us when we started getting everything out," Jo said. "They said the pub never floods."

Jo said many of the locals were happy to sit back and let the water rise.

"They left it too late," she said.

Jo believes assistance could have come sooner.

"By the time people realised we were a little town in need of help, everyone had done most of the cleaning up," she said. "The firies that came out were really great but we were pretty much on our own."

The road that Renee Keitley travels to take her children to school. The family was flooded in for six weeks after heavy rain in January. All visitors had to enter on foot.
The road that Renee Keitley travels to take her children to school. The family was flooded in for six weeks after heavy rain in January. All visitors had to enter on foot. Contributed GLA300513FLOOD

Winter gives people a chance to dry out

GRAZIER Renee Keitley hopes winter will bring some relief to the flood-drenched Boyne Valley.

"The dry season will give people an opportunity to get into the jobs they haven't be able to do because of all the rain."

Renee and husband Darren run 2000 head of cattle on a property in the Boyne Valley.

While the family property sustained widespread damage, Renee counts herself as lucky.

"We have had a lot of support from family and friends," she said. "Most people in the area have had to go it alone."

Renee said many community members are still struggling.

"A lot of older people are still waiting on repairs," she said.

"Everybody is getting back on their feet but I think they'll be a lot of financial hardship in the next 12 months."

Despite a tough couple of months rebuilding after the floods, Renee acknowledges the unpredictable nature of farming.

"This is the lifestyle we choose," she said. "If it's not flooding, it's fire or drought.

"Thanks to all the rain, we'll have enough feed to get us through for the next couple of years," she said.