2012 Lismore Flood Photos

The Weather Bureau is currently predicting a 7.2 metre flood peak at Lismore (my home town) tomorrow at 3.00pm. With all the heavy rain still forecast, it will probably go higher.

Thought these pics might be useful to know what a 7m flood peak means. They were from January last year. Have also included some flood signs around around Lismore containing info about the last roads out, what different levels mean, and a sign from the record breaking 1974 flood with a family member’s house in the background.

Most of my family lives in the flood-prone areas, so hoping all will be okay.

Issued at 8:31 pm EDT on Sunday 27 January 2013
Flood Warning Number: 1
An average of 140 millimetres of rain has fallen during the past 48 hours to 6pm today [27/01/2013]. However, the rain intensity has increased during the past 6 hours, with 50 millimetres falling during this period.
Further heavy rain is forecast for the next 24 hours.
At this stage it is not possible to predict the flood peak because of uncertainty over how much more rain will fall.
A flood watch remains current for moderate to major flooding for the Richmond and Wilsons River Valley.
Predicted River Heights/Flows:
– Exceed minor flood level (4.2 metres) around 6am Monday morning
– Reach moderate flood level (7.2 metres) around 3 pm Monday afternoon.

Gollan Hotel, Lismore

Walk Like A Man

City Lights Tennis Club

City Lights Tennis Club

“Do you want a lift over town?” is one of the phrases most commonly used by my family in Lismore. Even though we live only a few hundred metres from the main shopping centre, there’s a level of confusion, even suspicion when I tell members of my family, “No it’s okay, I’ll walk”.

In Sydney, every day I walk several kilometres to and from work and the shops. For me, it’s nothing to walk those distances, and to not even think about it, unless of course it’s raining.

But in Lismore, like many country towns, where public transport is in short supply, the car is king. You get in the car, you drive to town, and even then, when you’re in town, if you need to go to another shop around the corner, you get back in your car, and you drive again. It’s one of the contributing factors to higher levels of obesity in regional areas, I’m sure.

The other day I accepted the offer of a lift to Lismore Shopping Square, but said I’d be walking home. It’s about two kilometres from my house, and an easy walk. I was given those confused, suspicious looks again.

As well as being able to help save the planet, and get a little exercise, it was also a wonderful opportunity for me to take a walk around town and take a close look at the places of my childhood with a viewpoint you just don’t see from car window.

As I walked back from the shopping square, I walked past my old high school tennis courts. They’re named after the one set of traffic lights which Lismore had and which existed for a decade or so nearby. There was much excitement in the late 70s when they were introduced, though they were eventually replaced by the roundabout, Lismore’s great contribution to road transport infrastructure in NSW. The courts don’t appear to have changed much in the last thirty years.


I also walked past the Gollan Hotel. Famously, the Queen stayed there on her visit to Australia in 1954. It’s part of local folklore the Queen was spotted drinking a beer on the hotel balcony, and that her visit “caused the big flood of 1954″. A friend of mine’s uncle and aunt owned the hotel at the time, and he claims to have in his posession the pillows from the Royal Bed. “The stories they could tell”, he would often say. As I walked past the Gollan, I noticed they’ve begun to commemorate this visit with a window display of photographs, which was lovely to look at.

And then I wandered down the street and noticed Shoppe 117, once just a tiny little giftware store had expanded dramatically. Their sign, “Pretty to look at, pleasant to hold, but if you should drop it consider it sold”, haunted me as a child as I looked their for mother’s day presents, and remains in my mind thirty years later.

I would never have noticed these things if I’d travel to town by car.

Willow and James

Home for Christmas

Back in May, when I received a MMS of the newest member of our family Willow, I wasn’t sure if Willow was a boy or a girl. Yeah, I know there’s the character of Willow on “Buffy”, but it seemed to me Willow could be a suitable name for either a boy or girl, and my niece is anything but predictable.

Willow turned out to be a girl, and tonight I got to meet her for the first time. Although we’ve “chatted” on Skype, it was lovely to meet Willow in the flesh. She has a wonderful smile, laughs a lot, and didn’t seem to mind a couple of selfies with her uncle. “You look like me”, I imagine she was thinking as she looked at the bloke with reddish/blondish balding head. While she’ll gain more hair in the future, I don’t imagine that will happen for me anytime soon. Although her mother is reasonably short, her father is quite tall, and so I imagine it won’t be long before she overtakes me in the heights stakes. Oh no, I’m becoming one of the old people in the family :(

So yeah, I’m home for Christmas. Luckily, there are times when I can pretty much do my job from anywhere, so I’ll be working out of the office here for a week or so, which means I can continue to work through while at the same time visiting my family. I sent out one of those wide d/l emails saying I’d be working from Lismore with the opening line, “I know you think it sounds like I’ll be sipping with cocktails at Byron most days, but I will genuinely be in the office”. I’m also filling in for a few other people who’ll be on leave. On a smaller scale, I liken it to the times when Doug Anthony acted as Prime Minister from a caravan on the North Coast.

Although I still have some friends in the area, and we catch up at this time of the year, coming home at this time of the year is very much about family. This is the area I grew up in, and which remains “home”, even if I also mostly call Sydney “home”. I have lots of lots of relatives in the area, and I’ll stay with and visit many of them.

Hopefully, I’ll also have a few tales to tell.

Empty 372 Bus in Sydney

Empty and Full

Empty 372 Bus in Sydney

Empty 372 Bus in Sydney

There was a moment earlier today when I was quite literally the only person (aside from the bus-driver) on a bus in Sydney. It was in stark contrast to Sydney Airport generally, and my flight to Ballina specifically, which was packed to the rafters.

I had a bugger of a job trying to get to the airport earlier today, as cabs were obviously in high demand. I figured today was the day when a lot of people have officially gone on holidays. The centre of Sydney is starting to thin out, and places like the North Coast (where I am right now) have started to fill up.

I used to always travel to Lismore, by the way, not Ballina, but Ballina has long since replaced Lismore as the regional airport, thanks to the increased level of competition amongst the airlines. And besides, with the Alstonville by-pass, it’s now a pretty quick drive between Lismore and Ballina.

For a lot of people coming home for Christmas can be a bit of a task. The family fights, the anxiety etc. And for a while I only came home every couple of years. But for the last few years I’ve enjoyed coming home each year, and have found a way to make it work for me, by doing my job from the local office for a couple of days each year, thereby maximising my time with family, and minimising the travel time. And if I start to have a few grumbles with the family, I can always pop out to work for a while :)

My young nephew was very excited to see me when I arrived at the airport. No doubt, we’ll be playing Wii or something like that within a day or two. And this year, he has a new “toy”, as his mum and step-dad have bought a pool/spa for the backyard of their new home.

We’re having Christmas Lunch at their place this year. It’s the first time we’ve done that, as this year, they’ve been madly renovating and redecorating. The pool/spa is their new purchase, and today they proudly showed it off.

No doubt it will figure prominently in Christmas Day celebrations. I’m not too sure about the sight of the extended family in swimwear relaxing in the spa, but I guess that’s one of the compromises you have to endure at this time of the year :):)