Marooned in a red sea

Tuesday, 6th March, 2012

BIG THRILL: Max Day (3) watches the SES helicopter take off after dropping food supplies at his home on Calindary Station north of Broken Hill. BIG THRILL: Max Day (3) watches the SES helicopter take off after dropping food supplies at his home on Calindary Station north of Broken Hill.

 By Gayle Hogan

Helicopters have been flying to station properties to deliver food to isolated families and to check on livestock after last week’s flooding rain.

The Livestock Health and Pest Authority (LHPA) has been helping livestock in distress, with a number of sheep moved from flooded paddocks near Ivanhoe yesterday.

The sheep were loaded into a crate which was then flown to higher ground.

The State Emergency Service (SES) has also been flying emergency food and medical supplies to those left stranded on properties because of inaccessible roads.

Hayley Woodifield and Lachlan Day from Calindary Station, 250 kilometres north of Broken Hill, received extra food supplies on Friday night.

Ms Woodifield said it was reassuring to know the SES was only a phone call away should her family - which includes sons Max (3) and Oscar (8 months) - need urgent medical attention or supplies.

Calindary Station is prone to flooding, with a number of creeks flowing into the property located between White Cliffs and Tibooburra.

It had almost 234 millimetres (921 points in the old scale) of rain over five days.

“We are surrounded by water,” Miss Woodifield told the BDT by telephone.

“we’re actually not going anywhere for quite a while.”

It’s not the first time Ms Woodifield has been trapped on the property. Last year she was there for seven weeks waiting for the dirt roads to dry out.

“Due to the many creeks throughout our property, this isn’t an uncommon occurrence which is why we are always stocked with supplies,” Miss Woodifield said.

Mr Day headed out by helicopter yesterday with neighbour Steve Pearce from Gumpopla Station to assess the damage.

While no livestock had drowned on Calindary, there were some damaged fences.

Tim Wall, who works for the LHPA, organised the helicopter ride with National Parks and the Department of Primary Industries (DPI).

Ms Woodifield said it was the first opportunity to check on the welfare of the 1,500 to 1,800 head of cattle at Calindary and the sheep at Gumpopla.

And while many people are stuck in the bush, a number of others from stations are in Broken Hill and unable to get home.

School of the Air parents and students ventured into Broken Hill last week for a conference and the school swimming carnival.

After heavy rain many can not access the dirt roads and highways they need to travel on to get home.

Zanna Gale from Pincally Station, 250km north of Broken Hill, said she would have to wait until later in the week to try and get back home.

Nicci Noakes from Lilidale Station, about 70km out of Yunta, said the damage to Pine Creek bridge on the Barrier Highway was proving a problem.

It meant she would have to do an 800km trip home via Mildura instead of the usual 300km it took to get home.

“I can’t get there because of that bridge.”

Meanwhile, Essential Energy crews have also been taking to the skies with a team of workers flown by helicopter to fix a telephone tower’s power supply.

The Glen Lyon Telstra Tower near Menindee was struck by lighting and Essential Energy workers fixed it on Sunday. 

A team of workers were also flown to Broken Hill by helicopter from Packsaddle last week after the rain left them stranded.