For several years this Queensland
  Was gripped by widespread drought
  As one by one our storage dams
  All gradually dried out.
  Now Joseph long ago explained
  Pharaoh's most perplexing dreams
  That weather runs in cycles
  Seven yearly, so it seems!

  Still every season cyclones
  Are tracked along our shore
  The weathermen keep us aware
  Of what might lie in store
  And Brisbane folk will often tell
  Of what happened once before
  When Cyclone Wanda funnelled down
  And settled at our door.

  The River City flooded
  An unprecedented sight
  In a magnitude unbounded
  Water reached a record height
  And so they built the Wivenhoe
  A flood mitigation dam
  To flood proof greater Brisbane -
  At least - That was their plan!

  But nature won't be thwarted
  By the meagre mind of man
  To think, perhaps, we ever might
  Maintain the upper hand.
  So for years we blamed El Nino
  For those endless sunburned days
  Until the southern oscillation turned
  To the farmers loud Ole's.


  At last, now all predicted
  For seven years, refreshing rain
  To nourish a parched, now arid land
  To compensate past pain.
  Alas! - La Nina strengthened
  A vast monsoonal trough
  And almost unexpected
  Demonstrated Nature's wrath.

  For forty days and forty nights
  It seemed the rain fell down
  Across the breadth of Queensland
  Flooded many a country town.
  The Water Board, undecided
  Were clearly in some doubt
  On the catchment there, at Wivenhoe
  Should they let more water out?

Trouble first was manifest
  At Toowoomba, perched on its Range
  When a cloudburst opened overhead
  From the drought, a poor exchange.
  The drains and City watercourse
  With the deluge, could not cope
  Confined within the urban lines
  It welled on up the slope.

  The muddy torrent thundered down
  The quiet suburban streets
  Collecting cars and debris
  Anything that it should meet
  All piled up at the corners
  Ground up by the violent flow
  And for anyone who wondered
  Where would all this water go?

  The turgid foaming water fell
  Unrelenting, on its downward path
  Smashed through the town of Withcott -
  You've seen the aftermath!
  The folk had little warning
  Before shelter they could seek
  It surged over the escarpment
  And raged down Murphy's Creek.

  Down the Lockyer Valley
  Grantham soon bore the brunt
  Of the wave of sullied waters
  That spread wide a fearsome front.
  Some scrambled onto rooftops
  And stayed both night and day
  While many houses in its path
  Were cruelly swept away.

  The rain fell unabated
  Across the hills and Brisbane plain
  And the plans to flood proof Brisbane
  Appeared to be in vain.
  The flood gates of Great Wivenhoe
  Were by now all opened wide
  A new torrent boiled its way downstream
  To join the swelling tide.

  The creeks and river systems
  Had long since burst their banks
  And flowed first into Ipswich
  Through suburban lower ranks.
  It reached the Civic Centre
  As the murky water pulsed
  And in our oldest city
  All low buildings were engulfed.

  The populace of Brisbane now
  In lower reaches were resigned
  For an inundation even higher
  Now a peak had been defined.
  There is no further need though
  For these scenes to be relayed
  As every television channel
  Sent them graphically displayed.

  So all the World bore witness
  To Brisbane's darkest hour
  So much was slowly swallowed
  By the River's swollen power.
  The flood has since subsided
  And the threat, for now, has passed
  Bitter memories and the heartache, though
  We know for years will last.

  Queensland must now recover
  And face the huge financial cost
  A consideration unbecoming
  In the light of many lives they lost
  And those who mourn their loved ones
  Leave a tribute and remain
  To pass a benediction
  For now to ease their pain.

  Throughout the reconstruction
  Plan well, that we might gain
  Some insight from harsh lessons
  So they might not have died in vain.
  For be not disillusioned
  It could happen all again
 Through our Country's endless cycle
  Of drought and flooding rain.

      ©  Rodd Sherwin


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