Tony McMahon.
Tony McMahon. Allan Reinikka

A new perspective after experiencing floods first hand

WE LIVE at Stanwell which is roughly 30km west of Rocky. Our property adjoins Neerkol Creek by the Capricorn Hwy.

That's where the bridge is gone.

We copped the full brunt of it.

We got an amazing amount of rain, about 600 - 700mm on Thursday night and Friday. The house we live in is 400m off the creek, up high and the water just kept coming and coming.

I woke up at 3am Friday and the water was up to the house.

We had 16 horses.

Two thoroughbred race horses - Looking at Lace and Heayil Metro - were in stables about 30m from the house. They were in water up to their necks.

I had to wade out to get them, try and get them to higher ground. They were terrified.

They broke free... they were dragging me along the water like I was body skiing.

They went. I was convinced we wouldn't see them again.

The rest of the horses were in stables 100m from the house and the same thing was happening to them.

By that time, the water was up to my head and the only way I could get there was to hold on to the wire yards, otherwise I'd be washed away.

Some were suspended over the stables, it went up that high.

I got most of them out into the paddocks, to high points.

It just got worse and worse Friday morning.

By about lunchtime we had about 10 horses in one paddock and the water was up to their shoulders and another four in adjoining paddocks were trying to push the fence down.

The water was just a mad channel going through.

One of our neighbours came over; he had a tinny, with a 30 horsepower motor. We tried to cut the fence down.

The water was a 600m wide torrent, flowing like the Fitzroy.

Some of the horses got caught up in the top of trees.

Most of the other horses swam, just by instinct. They got to higher ground all over Stanwell. By the end of the day we'd lost two horses.

The water went through the house about 30cm deep.

We've lost all the fences and thousands of dollars of horse feed.

Demountable toilets from railway works nearby have floated on to our property.

It's just a mess.

All the horses that have survived have leg wounds.

It's bad enough having your own problems but when you're dealing with thoroughbreds...

You live with them, you work with them every day... to see them injured just breaks your heart.

I couldn't put a monetary cost to the damage. We're very lucky the house is insured. It has to be gutted. We had a makeshift race track down the paddock. It's been washed away.

I've never experienced anything like this. As a journalist, it gives you a totally different perspective.

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