Jingellic hit by flood after fire

Producers hit by both fire and flood

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Rob Bulle's daughters Bec and Ali on one of the family's properties that was hit by both fire and floodwaters. Rebuilding after fire was interrupted by tsunami-like flash flooding.

Rob Bulle's daughters Bec and Ali on one of the family's properties that was hit by both fire and floodwaters. Rebuilding after fire was interrupted by tsunami-like flash flooding.

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Rain event could do even more damage.

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Jingellic producers have seen it all in recent weeks.

Just days after bushfires swept through the region, their burnt country was hit by torrential rain, leading to flash flooding which may have caused even more damage than the fires.

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Rob Bulle of Ardrossan Angus had four properties burnt out by the Green Valley blaze but was fortunate not to lose any stock.

"We haven't lost any hay or sheds, we have lost a lot of grass and more than 100 kilometres of fencing," Mr Bulle said.

But just as they were beginning to rebuild fences and clear land, they were hit by another event, torrential rain.

He described the floodwater that came down the valley after the rains as a tsunami.

I think the rain event was potentially a much bigger disaster than the fire. - Rob Bulle, Jingellic

"We have very steep country, it's been very heavily burnt and there's nothing there to hold the soil, the ash, and when we had that rain it just led to a tsunami coming through our place" Mr Bulle said.

"Lachie, my son, was on the tractor, I was pointing to him and he was wondering what I wanted, then he looked around and saw the torrent of water coming.

"There were logs, mud, water a metre high just moving down through our gullies, heading to the river."

He said some of the fences they had rebuilt in the days following the fires were washed away.

The erosion damage caused by flood waters just outside the town of Jingellic in the Upper Murray.

The erosion damage caused by flood waters just outside the town of Jingellic in the Upper Murray.

But he is concerned the long-term effects of the flood will be far greater.

"I think the rain event was potentially a much bigger disaster than the fire," Mr Bulle said.

"The fish, the water, the erosion, the soil quality, all the fertiliser and pasture improvement will be gone."

Mr Bulle said their plan for recovery could still change day to day but for now they were looking to sow barley after the next rain to give them some ground cover.

"We might put 200-240 hectares in because very quickly that could reduce our feed bill," Mr Bulle said.

Another Jingellic cattle producer, Peter Hoodless, lost 99 per cent of their grass, a wool shed, hay shed and around 700 bales of hay in the fires.

He said he would look to direct drill to get pastures up quickly.

"We'll just put annual pastures in to get a fast response," Mr Hoodless said.

"Our biggest worry is that we won't get an Autumn break."

Peter and Mary Hoodless, Jingellic lost 99 per cent of their grass, a wool shed, hay shed and around 700 bales of hay in the fires.

Peter and Mary Hoodless, Jingellic lost 99 per cent of their grass, a wool shed, hay shed and around 700 bales of hay in the fires.

Mr Hoodless said up until the fires the Upper Murray region still had some good feed.

"I had been planning for a dry autumn, had all the hay - I had it under control," Mr Hoodless said.

"Unfortunately I lost 200-300 tonnes of very good silage, which hurts, along with the hay."

He now plans to wean early so he can send more cattle away on agistment.

The Hoodless family have been in the region for more than 100 years but said once they had rebuilt they would consider all their options.

"I've been through drought, floods, fire, how many times do you want to do it?" Mr Hoodless said.

"But this community is very strong and would be very hard to ever leave."

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