Reluctant bovines swim to safety
AVIS Stehn is a firm believer in finding the positives, and out of the murky water of the weekend's floods comes her bovine story of survival.
The Clintonvale landholder and her husband Doug spent the afternoon before Glengallan Creek flooded trying to coerce a reluctant mob of Charolais cows and calves from a high point on the creek flats.
"We had cattle on the creek and we spent two hours trying to move them to higher ground," Mrs Stehn said.
"If we keep getting floods like this we will leave. It's hard, but for now we're cleaning up and working out what still works.
"They just wouldn't leave this bit of high ground and, eventually, the water was rising and we had to leave them.
"I couldn't sleep that night because I kept thinking they would be washed away."
Yet sometime during the darkness on Saturday night the 12 breeders and their eight young calves either swam or were swept off their temporary island.
Miraculously the herd turned up intact and unharmed three properties down the creek.
"One of our neighbours left his gate ajar, not open mind you, and they pushed their way through and camped up on a hill," Mrs Stehn said.
"It was amazing considering the swiftness of the water. We had timber fence posts just picked up and pulled out such was the force."
The Stehns measured 90mm at the weekend, but metres of water rushed over their country along Glengallan Creek but the couple was reluctant to focus on their losses, insisting there had neighbours who suffered more significantly.
"Yes we lost lucerne we had replanted after the last flood," Mrs Stehn said.
"We had only got half a dozen cuts off it, so that was frustrating. And we lost all the new fencing but so did everybody else."
She said the clean-up would start in earnest as the country dried out enough to push debris off roads and fences and level paddocks scoured by fast-flowing water.
"We will get through this and be okay," Mrs Stehn said.
"I can only speak for us though, for some people this could be the last straw."
Yet she said two floods in two years was test enough.
"I do know though if we keep getting floods like this, we will leave," she laughed.
"It's hard, but for now we're cleaning up and working out what still works."
If we keep getting floods like this we will leave. It's hard, but for now we're cleaning up and working out what still works.