Here she comes
Tuesday, 3rd March, 2020
By Callum Marshall
A flowing Darling/Baaka will reach Wilcannia and Menindee very soon and Broken Hill local Kerry Turley has captured the moment when water arrived at Trevallyn Station on Sunday.
Camping by the river bed with a few mates over the weekend, Mr Turley awoke on Sunday morning to see water making its way round the river bend and past the property which is 85km upstream of Wilcannia.
He quickly posted images and videos on the Facebook page of his business, Discount Tyres Broken Hill, and hundreds of people shared them.
Speaking to the BDT yesterday, Mr Turley said the water came past much earlier than he, and the station owners, expected.
“Our plan was just to go up to the station at Trevallyn because the owners told me a couple of weeks ago they weren’t expecting this until mid-March,” he said.
“We took off from Broken Hill Saturday morning, expecting we’ll take a heap of photos of the dry river and then we’ll go back in a few weeks’ time and take photos when the water’s coming down.
“We arrived at the property late Saturday afternoon and they told me they’d heard from upstream at Louth that the water’s actually moving a lot faster than they predicted and could even arrive tonight or tomorrow morning, being Sunday morning.
“We just camped at our spot and, sure enough, we woke up out of our swags a bit after 7am and at 8am we heard the noise and the water was coming round the bend.
Given the river bed needed to be properly wet first, said Mr Turley, the first flow was quite slow.
But soon it was passing the campers at quite a quick pace, he said.
“When it was running I was walking along with the sticks and that just trying to get an idea, and it was just walking pace,” he said.
“The first lot just seeps straight into all the cracks and the dry sand and everything.
“Once that’s all wet then the stuff just comes faster over the top of it.
“And then off it went, and within an hour it was from one side of the river to the other.”
Mr Turley said the station owners, Chrissie and Bill Ashby, had to quickly move some of their cattle off the river bed.
“We came across 20 cows in one big pond which the water hadn’t reached yet,” said Mr Turley.
“They belong to Trevallyn Station, so when the main water came down they would’ve been stuck on the other side.
“They’d have to go back to Wilcannia, load them onto a truck and then come back around again.”
Within ten minutes of the dry river bed filling they could see fish as well, he said.
“They must’ve been around the bend or whatever in a stagnant pool and then the flush has come through and the fish have followed the flush down.
“The day before you’d hardly see a bird or anything and then there were two pelicans flying around.
“A group of about twenty ducks flew over as well when the water had well and truly come past us.
“It was crazy to see. We were just lucky that all the planets aligned and we were just there at the right time.
“If it had come down at 3am we’d have been fast asleep and wouldn’t have even known about it.”
According to the latest WaterNSW update, flows could reach Wilcannia any time from today to March 10 and Lake Wetherell from Saturday to March 15.
The flow update has forecast between 170 to 200 gigalitres for Wilcannia and 150 to 170 GL for Lake Wetherell.